Sunrisers the rising force in 2018 IPL

Rashid Khan celebrates Ben Cutting's wicket BCCI

Three matches into this year's IPL, and it is Sunrisers Hyderabad who are making the early running - victorious in all three outings and now setting the pace at 7/2 to be crowned champions for the 2018 season.

Sunrisers' success to date has been built on the spin twins of Shakib Al Hasan and Rashid Khan - from Bangladesh and Afghanistan respectively - who squeezed the life out of Rajasthan Royals in their opening encounter, before Rashid served up a ridiculous 18 dot-balls en route to figures of 1 for 13 in his four overs against Mumbai Indians.

Royal Challengers Bangalore haven't quite had the same returns - just one win in three so far - but they remain heavily in the reckoning at 4/1, due largely to their obscenely power-packed batting line-up. Brendon McCullum, Quinton de Kock, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers is a quartet that you'd back to come good in the long run, not to mention power-hitters such as Mandeep Singh and Washington Sundar lurking down the order.

It's too early to write off any team's challenge, but Mumbai Indians (no wins in three) and Delhi Daredevils (one from three) are already threatening to be cut adrift at the bottom of the table. Both have slipped to 9/1 according to the Bet365 odds-setters. But it is Kolkata Knight Riders who are under the spotlight right now - champions in 2012 and 2014, and in the play-offs in each of the last two seasons. They squandered winning positions in each of their two defeats, leaving their captain Dinesh Karthik with plenty to ponder as the competition moves into its second week.