There will be plenty of good bets and bad bets in this season’s IPL, which starts in a matter of weeks. Just as there always is. And separating the wheat from the chaff will be key in a tournament in which it is tough to win money.
One wager which, at the moment, looks fraught with danger is a bet on Delhi Daredevils to win their first ever title. They are as short as 6 with Paddy Power and 6.5 with William Hill. You would need your head read taking those odds. And not just because 8 is available with Boylesports, either.
Delhi Daredevils are a constant disappointment in IPL, ever since the inaugural year when they flopped in the semi-finals. They made the semi-final the year after that, too. But that was as good as it got. In the last four years, they have failed to make it out of the group stage.
There is a gradual improvement there. They have improved by one place each year since finishing ninth in 2013. So there is some method to those who think they are the coming team. Still, they would need to leap two places to make the play-offs this time, something they have not done since 2012.
They will have to do it without JP Duminy, their South African talisman. This week he shocked the franchise by pulling out of the tournament because of “personal reasons”.
With days to go before training begins, it leaves Delhi with an enormous hole to fill. Duminy was key because he was supposed to be the glue which held the squad together and there was a solid chance of him captaining the side.
As it is, they have Angelo Mathews, Corey Anderson or Carlos Brathwaite to step into his shoes in terms of all-round duties. Mathews is a sound call but his fitness record is patchy at the moment. He has not played since January when suffering a hamstring injury. Anderson and Brathwaite are very hit and miss.
What it actually does is force Delhi to recognize early the folly of their recruitment policy. They have relied heavily on South Africans. Quinton de Kock, Chris Morris, and Kagiso Rabada form the spine of their team but with their international duties taking precedence, it is highly unlikely they will finish the season. As it is, they are pencilled in to depart just before the play-offs.
Even with De Kock and Duminy, they were one quality top-order batsman of being expected to challenge. So where they go from here is anyone’s guess. Sam Billings is on the roster but, again, he is not available for the whole tournament.
It’s a shame because we actually liked what Delhi were building. They had looked to youth in the last few tournaments and had wise heads like Rahul Dravid and Zaheer Khan passing on key advice.
They are currently 4.5 with Betfair Exchange to finish bottom. There are worse wagers.