IPL Play-Off 2

Lucknow Super Giants v Royal Challengers Bangalore

It’s time to get serious in the 2022 Indian Premier League. When you look at the talent in these two squads and the fact that this is a ‘do or die’ contest, it really does promise to be an absolute cracker!

Neither side has been perfect during its 14 matches but LSG have been marginally more consistent with nine wins and only just missed out on making the qualifying play-off because their net run rate was slightly inferior to that of Rajasthan Royals.

As a result, it’s knockout cricket for them and there can be no slip-ups. After being right up there challenging for the top two throughout, their defeats in both their 12th and 13th matches, against Gujarat Titans and Rajasthan Royals, who ended up being the top-placed teams, were hefty reminders that to win this they will need to be at their best.

Even their most recent outing, a two-run win over Kolkata in an incredibly high scoring contest, was a sign that there can be no let-up. However, what that did do was remind everyone that under tremendous pressure they came through.

RCB will be heartened by the fact that they go into this having hit arguably their best patch of form, winning three of their last four round robin matches. They also have the psychological edge over LSG in knowing they can beat them, having done so by 18 runs when the teams met on April 19.

Faf du Plessis was magnificent that day, walloping 96 in just 64 balls to get his team up to 181-6, before Josh Hazlewood’s 4-25 stifled the progress of LSG’s batters and kept them to 163-8.

Lucknow will have a healthy respect for their opponents on the back of that and this time, I expect them to get it right. Despite apparently not being in quite the form of their opponents coming into this, those two defeats were against the top two teams and I am making a bit of an allowance for that.

They are available with bet365 at 4/5 to win, with RCB having an even money chance in the eyes of the layers. I think they’ll prove good enough to win this and I’d take the price. I would also add that, so good has their form been when batting first, that if they do get to bat first in this, I’d be prepared to wade in a little deeper with my stake and go bigger because they have largely been excellent at defending the totals that they have set.

So, who are going to be the standout performers? Well, if they are to win it and if you look through their performances so far, the major players with the bat when they have won have usually been KL Rahul and Quintin de Kock. Rahul is 21/10 to be top batter with bet365, who have de Kock as a 13/5 chance. You can back them both and make a profit if one of them succeeds and I’d be inclined to do so.

These can be level stakes plays or, if you really do have a preference for one over the other (I have to admit that I don’t but I’d like them both ‘on my side’) you could back the one you fancy to higher stakes and the other to cover that stake, should be do the business.

I put up Jason Holder as the top bowler last time I previewed an LSG match but I do also admire the consistency of Mohsin Khan with the ball for the Titans and I’m siding with him to be the top bowler for them at 4/1 with bet365. It’s too tempting a price for me not to have a little interest.

If you want to go as far as a Player of the Match bet, then if we’re with Rahul and de Kock as potential match winners with the bat for Lucknow, I’m going with backing both to be Player of the Match, at 5/1 and 15/2 respectively with bet365.

I’m really looking forward to this one and wish you all the best of luck with your bets.

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