IPL FINAL PREVIEW
BY PROFESSIONAL CRICKET TRADER, RICHARD FUTTER
It’s the dream final as the IPL’s two most successful teams battle it out for supremacy at the Rhajiv Ghandi Stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday.
Chennai Super Kings and the Mumbai Indians are both three times champions, and it promises to be a tightly-contested showdown, with the vast majority of Indian ‘neutrals’ supporting CSK for one reason – MS Dhoni, Captain Cool and comfortably the most popular man on the Sub Continent.
Picking a winner is tricky. I’ll admit it: I thought CSK’s ageing team might be a busted flush. They did look more than a little frayed around the edges in the closing stages of the league programme. But the way they brushed aside an in-form Delhi Capitals side in final qualifying proved me mistaken on that front. An important lesson there: never underestimate Dhoni’s ability to inspire teammates to greatness.
Followers of form would certainly back Mumbai. They have an excellent record against the Superkings and have already beaten them comfortably three times this season. But finals are different and I will be very surprised if this turns out to be a one-sided affair.
So, instead of trying to pick a winner, I will be looking to explore one or two other trading opportunities – one of them right at the start. The average first innings score at the final venue this season is a very healthy 175, with three scores over 200. And 5 of the 7 matches there have been won by the side batting first.
Sides batting first invariably drift quite some way immediately after the toss, so that is the ideal in-point. I will be backing whoever bats first, aiming to get out after a handful of overs. Ideally, I would love to ya CSK batting first. Faf Du Plessis and Shane Watson had a scratchy start to the season but now look to be hitting form at just the right time.
My second plan, if things fall right is in the middle of the Mumbai innings. If they’ve lost early wickets and their price has drifted significantly, I’ll be looking to back them. With the Pandya brothers coming in during the second half of the innings, they’re well capable of rescuing an apparently lost cause. Hardik Pandya has scored 393 runs this season at an outstanding strike rate of 194.
And a strategy I’ve used for some time could also pay dividends. Hardik is a superb batsman but his bowling nearly always goes for runs – at a rate of more than 9 runs per over – and backing the batting side when he comes on to bowl often produces profits. I won’t be going huge on that one, as he has taken more wickets than usual this season, but if the batsmen are well set I will definitely be diving in.
It should be a hugely entertaining final. And hopefully a profitable one.