Despite the cliché that the Indian Premier League is a lottery, we are agreeing with the bookies and saying that the favourites will win.
The Indian Premier League is the world’s leading domestic Twenty20 competition, with none of its counterparts able to match the multi-million-dollar salaries that it can offer to the best exponents of the thrill-a-minute cricket format.
Twenty20 began in England in June 2003 – it was the idea of England and Wales Cricket Board official Stuart Robertson – but the Indian Premier League, which did not start until April 2008, means that now India is the country with which most people associated this exciting form of cricket.
Eight teams took part in the 2008 Indian Premier League. The Chennai Super Kings paid 1,500,000 American dollars to secure the services of India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and they went agonisingly close to winning the inaugural title, losing on the final ball when Rajasthan Royals tailender Sohail Tanvir hit the winning single run.
However, the Chennai Super Kings have bounced back from their 2008 disappointment to become the most successful side in Indian Premier League history, making the final in four of the five seasons and winning the coveted championship in 2010 and 2011. The Chennai Super Kings will be hoping to go one better in 2013 than they went in 2012 when they lost the title decider to the Kolkata Knight Riders by five wickets.
Weather permitting, the 2013 Indian Premier League season will run from Wednesday 3 April to Sunday 26 May. Following the termination of the Deccan Chargers, winners of the 2009 Indian Premier League final, a new Hyderabad-based team will participate in the now nine-side competition. They are the Sunrisers Hyderabad and their leadership team comprises captain Kumar Sangakkara and coach Tom Moody.
Twenty20 has the reputation for being the cricket equivalent of a lottery but, if anything, the opposite is closer to the truth. The cream rises to the top in Twenty20 cricket just as it does in Test cricket. For example, it is no accident that most of the favourites have qualified for the latter stages of the Indian Premier League every season since it began in 2008. Some teams are simply better than others.
Bookmakers have, by and large, not fallen into the trap of rating the 2013 Indian Premier League as a raffle, with five of the sides considerably shorter than the other four teams.
The Chennai Super Kings are the 2013 Indian Premier League title favourites at odds of around 4-1, an assessment with which it is devilishly difficult to argue. Their batting line-up is the envy of every other side, with its middle order having the power and poise to rescue its top order on the rare occasions that it fails to fire. Controversially, Sri Lankan players have been banned from playing games in Chennai for political reasons so the Super Kings will have an unusual advantage over their championship rivals.
It is significant that the Chennai Super Kings have the best of the Indian talent, with Dhoni skippering a side that also features Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina and Murali Vijay. Indian conditions are atypical so having quality domestic players is of great value to any team with its sights set on the 2013 Indian Premier League title.
Betting on the 2013 Indian Premier League top bowler is not recommended because it is too subject to luck but a punt or two on the top batsmen market is certainly on the agenda.
That is because openers have been the top run scorers in each of the first five Indian Premier League seasons so it is relatively easy to narrow down the field of likely lads and, also, there is an opposable short-priced favourite in Chris Gayle, the enigmatic West Indies master blaster.
Gayle has been the Indian Premier League’s top batsman in two of its five editions but he is wildly inconsistent and he had a shocking Big Bash League campaign in Australia a few months ago, scoring just 137 runs at an average of 19.57. One should bet against him at the opening odds.
Indian openers Gautam Gambhir, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane chased home Gayle in the 2012 Indian Premier League top batsman race and they appeal at the odds for this year, with Gambhir available at odds of around 22-1, Dhawan at 33-1 and Rahane at 28-1. Even dutching the three willow wielders produces a bet that pays better than 8-1.
Paddy Power has a 2013 Indian Premier League special offer in which it will refund, up to a currency-specific maximum amount, losing match bets on games decided by the final ball. The chasing side must be within six runs of the target score before the last ball and the refund does not apply if the chasing team’s innings lasts fewer than 15 overs. Check out Paddy Power’s website for its full terms and conditions.
Just for the record, Paddy Power (see review) would have refunded 10 times during the 2012 Indian Premier League season but only five times in 2008, six times in 2009, two times in 2010 and three times in 2011. So last year was a very good year.
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