IPL betting preview: Ravi Ashwin and Kings XI Punjab face toughest challenge yet against Sunrisers Hyderabad
With two wins from three matches Kings XI Punjab are threatening to mount a serious play-off challenge in the Indian Premier League.
Against Sunrisers Hyderabad at home on Thursday, however, they face their toughest test yet.
The Sunrisers, even without world pariah David ball tamperer Warner, are on song. They have the bowling attack which is the envy of the tournament. And, forgive us if we sound like a broken record, its bowlers who win franchises pots. Not batsmen.
Talking of batsmen, Kings XIs season could well be defined by two of them. KL Rahul and Yuvraj Singh have contrasting stories and fortunes.
Rahul should be considered the coming force in the India batting scene. Yuvraj is the old, wise head who is supposed to be passing on his wisdom to help the young thruster.
At the moment, though, all Rahul is learning from Yuvraj is how not to play the game. The veteran has 36 runs in three innings with a strike rate of 93. Not good enough.
At the age of 36 Yuvraj should have plenty of go left in him but he looks fit for the scrapheap. Instead, Manoj Tiwary would bolster their batting.
Not that it needs much of a fillip because Rahul is the shining light. He has 135 runs in three with a phenomenal strike rate of 198.
Before Wednesdays matches this put him seventh on the overall run lists. Virat Kohli, the batting God, is No 1. Rahul has always been in his shadow somewhat and he is perhaps unfortunate not to have played more for India. At 25 a big tournament here could cement his spot.
Against Sunrisers, Rahul is 3-1 for top-bat honours for his team with Skybet. We have him down as outright favourite because he shares status with Chris Gayle, who we dont think is as consistent as our man.
Elsewhere, we are once again betting Rashid Khan for the man of the match at 11-1 with Betfair Sportsbook and Paddy Power. He should be about 8-1.