The Hattrick - IPL 2024 - Is Virat Kohli's low strike rate and selfish batting costing RCB?

This special episode critically analyzes the underwhelming performances of Indian superstars Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Hardik Pandya. It debates whether Kohli's play is self-centered and slow, costing RCB victories, and questions Mumbai Indians' leadership under Pandya. Experts Ed, John, Manish and Ben discuss potential recoveries and the real ambitions of these teams in the IPL.

Ed Hawkins
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The Hattrick - IPL 2024 - Is Virat Kohli's low strike rate and selfish batting costing RCB?
The Hattrick - IPL 2024 - Is Virat Kohli's low strike rate and selfish batting costing RCB?

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Last Updated: 5th April 2024

Welcome back to the Hattrick, brought to you by I'm your host, Ed Hawkins. This is the live weekly cricket betting show for the IPL, featuring a hat trick of best bets, two games to follow, and we're diving into the gods of the game. 

This week has been a disaster for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, and what on earth is Rohit Sharma doing for the Mumbai Indians? We'll give you a hint: we can point you towards one of the worst value bets, save you money as well as win you money. 

This week on the Hattrick, we have the pick of the IPL bets on a very busy weekend with two cracking games. We've got a double hat trick of bets for you, full of thrilling encounters: Rajasthan Royals vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday and Mumbai Indians vs. Delhi Capitals on Sunday. Our featured bookie this week is 1xBet. 

Manish is here for the stats angles, John Wright, the former betting odds compiler, is here to give you the insight on how the bookies do it, and Ben is looking at all the specials across 1xBet. Let's get going.

Manish, I'm going to throw some stats at you, Virat Kohli on boundary percentage, strike rate, and average being below the mean benchmark which analysts use to sort the wheat from the chaff when picking IPL players. You're consistently scoring too slowly. 

When are the Royal Challengers Bangalore going to wake up and turn to play a different way? Can he play a different way, and does he have eventually cost them another chance at the IPL title? Go ahead and pick your way through that lot.

"Yeah, so my first response to that would be, if Kohli is the chaff, who is the wheat in RCB? I mean, it's really hard to call him too slow; he's scoring at a strike rate of 140 right now, and obviously, there is room for improvement. I will talk about the top order batsmen and why they score slowly as we go ahead. 

But I'm going to tell you an interesting fact: Chris Gayle, the all-time legendary T20 batsman, Kohli, scores at a higher strike rate than him in international cricket, at almost double the average. That's one. Second, in international cricket, he has a better strike rate than Quinton de Kock, Brendon McCullum, and Martin Guptill. 

I mean, except for Sky and Maxwell, everybody above him is there and thereabouts. His record in chases and in won matches is very similar. And if you look at the top order batsmen, especially openers so far in this tournament, everybody is there at this strike rate of 140. 

Gill's innings yesterday put him slightly in better numbers, but if you look at Phil Salt, David Warner, de Kock, all of them are there at a 140 strike rate and have scored less than Kohli. One more interesting fact: we talked about boundaries, right? So, Virat Kohli is the highest boundary scorer so far in this IPL. 

He has 25 boundaries, including fours and sixes, and is tied with three others. So, there's a game going on at the field and then there is a game going on in our heads, and we kind of conform to what we believe is right, and we see only that. 

But as far as the stats are concerned, I think they don't look that bad. Obviously, there is room for improvement, but I don't see RCB giving too much thought to Virat Kohli's form, and they should be thinking more about what other players are doing in the team."

Another interesting fact: RCB has managed zero wins in the IPL so far. John, "I've always maintained that they'll never win the IPL until Virat Kohli decides to hang up his gloves." John, are we at a watershed moment then in T20 because we're seeing teams in this tournament play in different ways? KKR and SRH are going hell for leather, and it's working very well for KKR. 

You've got sides on the other side of the coin like RCB, Lucknow to an extent, Gujarat, who have picked Kane Williamson, that's already cost them a game against Punjab. And Kohli, what, had a 137 in the defeat vs. Lucknow, meaning that players coming in have to score quicker. Where are you standing on this argument?

"Well, first of all, I'd say that the RCB franchise is a shambles, and they've been a shambles for a long time. At the auction, you know, they brought in players that they needed. I mean, Virat Kohli, I don't think he's RCB's major problem. The major problem is that their acquisitions have been appalling. 

To pay 15 crore for Cameron Green, I think, was ridiculous, given what he did last year. They were crying out for a spinner. Their best spinner so far in the tournament is Glenn Maxwell, and he's a bit-part bowler. When you think of the spinners they've had in the past, like Hasaranga, those guys, and they still never won the championship. 

So, I think RCB's problems are a lot broader than Virat Kohli, and I think you've got to be a little bit respectful. If you go back to 2016, Kohli scored nearly a thousand runs in the IPL, a record number no one's even got close to. So, yeah, there are teams playing a different brand of cricket. RCB are going to struggle; they're not going to make the playoffs. But I don't think that Virat Kohli is their main problem."

Ben, this is the perverse nature of betting. We're talking about Virat Kohli costing Bangalore, which means his presence in the side means that they are a good team to oppose, but perversely, Kohli playing for himself, if you like, is a great top run scorer bet. He's extremely reliable in the betting markets to score runs. 

We like the guy who accumulates, plays for himself, takes no risks. At 1xBet, Kohli is 3.2 to be the top scorer in this game against Rajasthan, and he wins just about 30% of the time. David Warner, another one who doesn't take huge risks, winning 42% of the time. A few more ticks on Kohli, and it'd be value, wouldn't it?

"Yeah, and I'm with you on this. I think he's a very selfish player. I always have thought that, and I don't think he puts too much pressure on players further up the order. Now, we are talking—John mentioned 2016, but you know, we're talking eight years ago now, and they didn't win. There's only twice that the top run scorer and the team winning the championship have been the same. 

And if you look at it, Kohli's strike rate, his average, is consistently up there with the winners. So, I think he'll win the orange cap this year. I have no doubt about that, but that doesn't matter in terms of your team; you're supposed to be winning titles. And I don't think RCB actually really does care about winning titles. This is about marketing; this is about putting shirts on people's backs. This is about getting the crowd there. 

You know, the crowd, I mean, the other day, the man of the match was Virat Kohli. He was scoring at less than a run a ball for the majority of his innings, and the crowds decided he's the man of the match, not even considering others. So, I do think there's an issue. I think they need to switch his order. He needs to come in later. If I compare him to the likes of an MS Dhoni, who I think I rate so highly as a leader, he's not captain this year. 

As a leader, I don't think players who play for a team, captains who play for a team, leaders who play for a team, I think they look at it and go, 'You know what? I shouldn't be in that position. I should let someone who can actually have a crack at this and get that strike rate up. I can come in later because I can score those boundaries, and we can try and win the game.' 

Virat's never going to do that. At the World Cup last year, I know I'm ranting a bit, the World Cup last year, India vs. Australia, he scored his 50, and this to me was the problem. He gets his 50, and then he gets out straight away. And then India didn't lose just because of Virat Kohli, but he was a major influence on them losing that game. 

He put too much scoreboard pressure on other batsmen to come in and perform, and they simply couldn't do it. Here is a guy that just plays for himself. Having said that, betting for him being the top run scorer for RCB for every game this year is probably a good shot, and him getting the orange cap is probably going to happen. 

It's great odds on him getting the orange cap, around seven to eights in a lot of bookies. So, as an individual player, go for it. Yeah, but RCB is not going to win a title with him there. Yeah, I mean, this is about most people dealing with the emotions, love to hate, great way to play, great way to make money on Kohli's back. That's put it that way."

"Royals at 1.74 at 1xBet and Bangalore at 2.2, easy win for Rajasthan, surely? Manish, I'm teasing you with this. We're ganging up on you, but I am putting a stop to it. That's okay. That's your call. Let's get to it very quickly now because we're short on time. Best bet of the game, Manish, for you?"

"Yeah, so I agree with you. I think Rajasthan Royals have a very good chance. Their bowling is excellent so far. I think probably the best in the tournament so far. So yes, given the lack of batting that RCB is doing, and the good bowling that RR is bringing in, I think RR have a great chance. 

I found this bet where it says the first six overs, 47 to 51, at 6.95. In the last four matches, RCB have scored 42, 50, 61, and 48. They're thereabouts, so I think that's a good bet to have, and I will go with that."

"Right, this is the Hat Trick, the best bets straight up. John Wright, what's your best bet for RR vs. RCB?"

"Yeah, RR’s bowling is probably the best in the tournament, you know, especially if Sandeep Sharma's back. He missed the last game. If he comes back, I think their all-around bowling attack is superb. The balance of it is fantastic. 

You've got Boult, you've got Burger, you've got Sandeep Sharma, you've got the two spinners. It's just brilliant. I mean, if Jos Buttler starts getting runs, I mean, I think this team's got title potential. I really do. Uh, so yeah, I just think they'll win the game, so that'll be my bet. The Royals to win the game at 1.74."

"Ben's backing Kohli to top score, right?"

"Yeah, hey, take that one for me. The odds that stood out were Boult and Chahal, 1.5 wickets each at 3.8. I quite like that one. So yeah, but I think RR should win, but having said that, we thought CSK would win the other day, and look what happened. Nice banana skin for us, that banana skin. Yeah, but I think it's 3.8 good for them, 1.5 wickets each."

"Good, Gujarat vs. Punjab, check out Cricket-Betting for your cricket betting and betting tips needs. Please, more superstars' subscription. As the Mumbai Indians take on Delhi Capitals on Sunday, Mumbai Indians, three straight losses, and another franchise with big problems. 

1xBet go 1.64 MI vs. 2.2 Delhi. I want to come to you, John, on Rohit. Win rate on top batting in the last two years, an incredible 9%. A man who has one of the best reputations but one of the poorest records. A bigger fraud than Kohli?"

"Ah, we're back to the Kohli debate, are we? Are we talking about hype and marketing, John, with these guys? Another watershed moment in IPL, these big names just aren't performers."

"Well, you've got to remember, with the Ambani family there's so much going on at MI. I mean, the fact that they brought Hardik back after his two-year hiatus with Gujarat, and they made him captain. I think him being captain was definitely in the terms of him coming back, so Rohit's nose was out of joint. 

So it's a lot going on there, and they've got off to a slow start, but then again, they got off to a slow start in 2022, if you remember, when Rohit was captain. I think they lost their first four or five games, so this is not unusual to MI. I just think MI, at the moment, they'll come good. 

And I think the fact that Suryakumar Yadav will probably be fit for this next game against DC, I think he'll make a massive difference. He'll slot in at 3, against the man. I think Tilak Verma, he's been one of the standouts of the tournament, bear in mind he's been playing in a poor MI side over the last two years.

He gets on with it as soon as he comes to the wicket. I think there's a lot to like about MI. The Hardik thing, I think Hardik's got a heart of a lion, and I think he's very, very arrogant, and I think he'll see this through. I'm not saying that MI will win it, but I think they'll probably sneak into the playoffs. So I think you'll come to Rohit for me. Yeah, last season, I think he stays, and I can see him getting runs for the remainder of the tournament."

"All right, Ben, Rohit's record for you too. Does that put you off betting? Just 9% of the time, any specials that catch your eye? Do we short his runs? I think like that."

"Yeah, I would avoid him at the moment. I mean, he's at 4.33 for the top batsman, and that's just not high enough. I would go to the likes of David Warner and Mitch Marsh. I mean, the right thing, they're looking at scoring runs quickly. 

David Warner is one of those annoying players that fails, fails, fails, and then goes and puts a hundred on quickly. For me, I would avoid anything at the moment with Mumbai. They should win the game. They probably won't. 

I'll probably lose the first four or five, and as you say, they'll get into the north, squeezing into the final, and it'll be a close match against CSK. But for me, a bit of a disaster at the moment with Mumbai, but they will come good. 

But for me, the odds that stood out for me were David Warner at 3.25 and Mitch Marsh for 4.5. I think that's a good shout. He's also slightly more, actually exactly the same, 3.25 at the top bat. I think him getting 50 at 3.25 is a good one. Oh no, winning about 40 to 50% of the time on top bat in the last two years, including this tournament."

"Manish, Hardik Pandya actually wins 18% of the time as the top bat, so 1xBet's 5.5 for top run scorer is absolutely fair. There's a bigger story with him. What's going on, Manish? Core captaincy, even the home crowd are turning."

"Yeah, I would say he's the only one in today's discussion, and the high winning percentage is mainly because of the good seasons that he had had with the Titans. My only concern with him is he's always injured. Right now, he has no fan support, MI lost three in three, and suddenly he looks like a poor skip. With Gujarat, he took them to finals on both occasions, winning once. 

So, I read this somewhere: you don't rise to the level of your goals; you fall to the level of your systems. And whatever is happening at MI at a systemic level clearly isn't helping. But I don't think missing him from the World Cup squad is going to be such a big deal anyway, so I don't think he's that big a superstar for MI or for India, for that matter."

"Management with a nice twist there. Now, I fit into one of these players' group. I want best bets now for this game, Mumbai Indians vs. Delhi. I think Mumbai at 1.64, they're already terrible value, but let's get to John. What do you got on the match predction?"

"I think Mumbai wins the game. I think Delhi, I think Delhi's bowling attack is awful. I mean, you've got to remember, they went to 277 against KKR. Rishab Pant tried 7 bowlers; they all went round the park. I think Mumbai wins the game, and I think Suryakumar Yadav coming back into this side will ignite them. I think they'll win the game quite convincingly. 

I think so. I mean, I think Delhi, I think Delhi's an awful side. I know they won the one game, but as you know, bringing Prithvi Shaw to open up with Warner for me just doesn't make any sense, you know? And then after Marsh and Pant, it's not a lot to come, and the bowling, the bowling is moderate. 

I think they're still, I think they're one of the worst sides in the event. So for me, Mumbai win this. They get on the horse, and they start winning. So 1.654 Mumbai to win the game for me."

"Ben, your best bet?"

"I'm going to quickly say that we're talking about the two bowling sides who have carted 270 runs each, Delhi and Mumbai, so not just Delhi. Yeah, it's the matchup of the worst bowling in the IPL so far. David Warner for me, he's at 3.25 for 50. I think that's a good shout. 

He's also exactly the same, 3.25 at the top bat. I think him getting 50 at 3.25 is a good one. Warner, winning about 40 to 50% of the time on top bat in the last two years, including this tournament. Manish, what's your best bet?"

"Um, I like the one where it says Rohit Sharma and David Warner both hitting at least one six for 2.25. So, if somebody likes it, they can go for it, but the one that I'm going to go for is Jasprit Bumrah to take more than one wicket at 2.25. I think he's due; he's one of the best IPL bowlers and international bowlers, and I think he just hasn't clicked so far, so this might be his day."

"1xBet prices that, so it's more than one wicket at 2.25, yeah? Okay, these are 1xBet prices. Ben's  -4.48 across the shows so far, not just IPL. PL figures, Manish at -4.95, John at -5.15. We'll update those as we go. More IPL betting previews next week on the Hattrick. 

Check out for all your IPL betting needs. As I said, we're back again next week. What happens in the IPL in the meantime, loads of great value out there. We'll see you then."

Ed Hawkins
Betting Tips Expert
Ed Hawkins, acclaimed cricket analyst and award-winning author, offers unparalleled insights honed over two decades. His blend of data-driven analysis and keen observation sets him apart as a trusted voice in cricket betting.
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Be Gamble Aware ImageMga Malta Gaming AuthorityGam Care ImageGambling Commission UK Image has no affiliation with the cricket teams, tournaments or organizations displayed on this website. We claim no credit for any associated images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images are copyright to their respective owners. Online wagering legality varies by jurisdiction. We urge you to verify local regulations before engaging in online betting. does not assume responsibility for your actions. © 2024 All Rights Reserved.