Delhi Capitals v Chennai Super Kings
Sunday 10 October, 15:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Table toppers Delhi are so confident these days that they don't even bother to find room for a fourth overseas player. Or maybe it's got something to do with the fact that one of their options is the game-clogging Steve Smith.
Still, it's not a great look for the likes of Sam Billings or Tom Curran. Odd that England seem to think he should replace his brother, Sam, when he can't get a game here.
Instead Ripal Patel has been given an all-rounder slot. He's actually a batsman who bowls very occasionally. His domestic hitting record is superb but he is unproven and is being used as a floater.
Defeat by RCB blotted their copy book in the final group outing but Delhi were bang up for the fight.
Possible XI Shaw, Dhawan, Pant, Iyer, Hetmyer, Ripal, Axar, Ashwin, Rabada, Nortje, Avesh
Chennai are one of two things. Either they are a team which has imploded with three de-feats on the spin. Or they are a team who have been taking things easy with qualification assured.
Neither is good for their prospects. If it's the latter the outfit which reckons it can just turn it on and off like a tap are generally done for.
Problems have emerged as they seem blind to the possibility of changing up their bowling attack with more variation as the pitches get slower and lower. They also continue to carry MS Dhoni as a batter. He is a disaster with a strike rate of 95 this tournament. If you see him at the crease with the rate climbing assume Chennai are done for.
This allied with the dropping of Suresh Raina means a group historically so confident in their individual roles looks unsure at exactly the wrong time.
Probable XI Gaikwad, Du Plessis, Uthappa, Moeen, Rayudu, Jadeja, Dhoni, Bravo, D Cha-har, Thakur, Hazlewood
The ten first-innings scores in Dubai in the re-started tournament read (1-2 denote match won batting first or second, most recent first) read: 134-2/136-2/118-2/165-2/149-2/164-2/165-1/134-2/185-1/156-1.
There's a toss bias tournament-wide (not just at this venue) and we expect the team batting second to have an advantage.
In terms of first-innings runs, this could pitch a mean Capitals bowling line-up against a powerful Kings hitting team. We would expect under 155.5 to be a play.
There's an edge on the first powerplay match-up. But we need Delhi to chase. Overall there's a sizeable bias for the chaser going faster. Tick. But Delhi are the fastest hitters in the powerplay and Chennai are the least economical. Double tick.
The winner goes straight through to the final. The loser gets a second bite at the cherry.
Delhi have beaten Chennai twice in this tournament, both in a chase. Their form is superior, their attitude is, seemingly, superior.
There is nowt wrong with having a decent punt on them if they get the opportunity to bat second again. You should look for around 1.9010/11 in play. We expect them to go off at just below even money in what has been priced as a choice affair.
Shikhar Dhawan has topped twice for Delhi runscorer in those two head-to-heads so he is likely to prove popular.
We note the 14s available about Ripal. He is a batsman and has gone in as high as No 3 in the Syed Mushtaq Trophy. He also batted at No 5 against CSK earlier.
For Chennai, Ruturaj Gaikwad is the most reliable top-bat wager in the last two tournaments but Delhi have kept him quiet, another nod to that excellent new-ball attack. Gaikwad is 13/5 for top CSK bat but Faf Du Plessis, who has taken over from him as top tournament runscorer, is 5/2 jolly. Du Plessis and Gaikwad are 4/1 and 9/2 respectively for top match bat.