Chennai Super Kings v Delhi Capitals: Wankhede set to produce another high-scoring opener

Delhi Capitals batsman Steve Smith
Steve Smith is set to make his Delhi Capitals debut

The Wankhede Stadium is one of the most reliable IPL grounds for runs and Paul Krishnamurty expects more of the same in Saturday's match...

"Both teams to score 160 is boosted to Evens - this bet has landed in 12 of the last 16 IPL matches at this ground, 16 of the last 24, and in the first fixture here in the last three seasons."

Chennai Super Kings v Delhi Capitals
Saturday, 15:00 BST
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

Most weeks on Cricket...Only Bettor, we tend to find plenty of consensus and that largely is the case with our IPL analysis, besides one notable exception. Delhi Capitals. As you can hear in the second part of our bumper tournament preview, I'm the only one on the panel with any love for Rishabh Pant's men.

This will be the third straight year I've backed Delhi, who are yet to win an IPL. After finishing third in 2019, second in 2020, natural progression suggests this could finally be their year. (I've also backed Punjab at 15.0, for reasons explained in part one).

Indian core offers useful advantage

My logic throughout has revolved around their retention of so much young Indian talent. They can comfortably pick seven home players of international standard, thus reducing the selection dilemmas around overseas players that so many rivals endure, and creating a settled unit.

They fulfil the four key criteria for a T20 outfit - world-class openers, finishers, pace and spin bowlers. Kagiso Rabada is the leading bowler over the last two renewals. New captain Pant the most exciting young Indian cricketer. Steve Smith is a significant addition.

True, their standard dipped badly after a brilliant start last year. Note that coincided with Pant getting injured and losing form. Compared to 488 runs at 163 strike-rate in 2019, he contributed 343 at 1.14. Merely a badly-timed blip in his rapid progress.

Quarantines leave Delhi below-strength

I would not, however, recommend taking 1.84/5 before their opening match. They're well below full strength with both Rabada and Anrich Nortje in quarantine, and there's probably a toss bias at the Wankhede Stadium. 13 of the last 24 matches here went to the chaser and that trend has accelerated in the sub-continent recently.

Plus Chennai are a hard side to call at this stage. Terrible last year and ageing rapidly, yet packed with class acts, who could well at least start the season with a bang. Dwayne Bravo may be much more effective this term, if his death bowling for the West Indies against Sri Lanka is a guide.

Gaikwad value for man of the match

Ruturaj Gaikwad made a very promising start last season and his performance, replacing Shane Watson, will be key to their chances. 12/1 about an opener for Man of the Match looks too big - his opposite number Shikhar Dhawan is half those odds.

Runs also appear under-estimated. We saw an extraordinary glut at the start of last season on fresh pitches and the Wankhede has always been runs-friendly.

Wankhede rarely produces sub-160s

Both teams to score 160 is boosted to Evens - this bet has landed in 12 of the last 16 IPL matches at this ground, 16 of the last 24, and in the first fixture here in the last three seasons.

By the same logic, Both teams to score 170 is fair value at 7/4. This won four out of seven during the most recent season (2019) and in ten out of the last 24.

Likewise, the stats imply a high 1st Innings Runs total. 19 of the last 24 first innings passed the 160 or more line, 13 passed 170. The boundaries are very reachable, so look out for big totals at huge odds off the last four or five overs.

If Top Team Runscorer is your market, there are two #Oddsboosts available for consideration. Shikhar Dhawan is 11/4 for Delhi, Moeen Ali 13/2 for Chennai. Smith is eyecatching for the former at 11/2 on a probable debut.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

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