A win for either side would virtually guarantee a top two finish and Matt Harris expects leaders Chennai to claim the points...
"The unscheduled pause to IPL 14 helped few teams but it has allowed Delhi’s Shreyas Iyer to return to full fitness and that could be crucial."
Delhi Capitals v Chennai Super Kings
Monday October 4th, 15:00 BST
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Kings toppled by Royals
Chennai failed to maintain their two-point advantage at the top of the table after a seven-wicket loss to Rajasthan Royals on Saturday. The toss proved pivotal as the surface flattened out, following a sticky start which offered a difficult test for the Super Kings' top order.
As Ruturaj Gaikwad continued his stunning form with a maiden IPL century and the batsmen posted a respectable 189, there were no issues among the top and middle order. The toss can prove vital but the obvious concern is a bowling attack where the openers, Sam Curran and Josh Hazlewood, both went at above 13.
A recall for Dwayne Bravo is certainly a possibility with both overseas opening bowlers under pressure.
Capitals close the gap
The Capitals made hard work of a modest run chase against Mumbai but the win leaves them level with Chennai at the top. The unscheduled pause to IPL 14 helped few teams but it has allowed Delhi's Shreyas Iyer to return to full fitness and that could be crucial.
Iyer's patient, undefeated 33 from 33 balls saw the Capitals scrape home on Saturday with just five balls to spare. There may be some concerns among the top order where Shikhar Dhawan has yet to find form in the UAE and the introduction of Steve Smith threatens to stifle the run rate before it gets started.
Batting depth is, however, a strength, while Delhi have great balance among the bowlers with the spin of Axar Patel doing the damage against Mumbai.
Delhi and CSK have played one game each at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium since the restart and both have emerged with the points. Chennai beat Mumbai by 20 runs back on September 19th while the Capitals eased past the Sunrisers by eight wickets two days later.
The average first innings score in seven games so far is 159 and four of those matches have gone to the chasing side. With three wins for the team taking first knock, the toss may not be quite as crucial on one of the higher scoring grounds in the tournament.
Only a marginally better run rate keeps the Super Kings at the top of the table ahead of Monday's opponents Delhi but the men in yellow are clear favourites. Chennai are currently available at 1.875/6 while the Capitals slot in at 2.0621/20.
If my theory is correct and the toss has less of an effect here, I'd back CSK as the stronger unit. While those opening bowlers went for 109 in eight combined overs, that's the only real concern. DJ Bravo can come in to address that and other areas are solid.
With Delhi, the concerns go a little deeper with the top three all struggling for runs. Shreyas Iyer can't be relied upon indefinitely and, on balance, I can't see past Chennai.
When a batsman proves profitable over a period of time, you can tend to blindly follow them moving forward. That's where I am with Faf Du Plessis but I'm learning to pick my moments more wisely.
Faf gave us the profit in Chennai's top batsman market in the win over KKR and he's been consistent since the resumption. The South African can bat around Ruturaj Gaikwad or he can take the responsibility if an early wicket falls. With Gaikwad set to shorten to around 3.02/1, I'm also looking for Du Plessis to provide a little more value at 3.55/2.
Other options in CSK's top batsman market will include Moeen Ali and Ambati Rayudu at around 4.03/1 while MS Dhoni will always be worth a look at 13.012/1 or possibly higher.
Shikhar Dhawan also underlines my top batsman dilemma. The left hander has been providing me with top batsman profits for years but he's not in the best of form and failed as my recommended bet on Saturday.
It could be time for one more chance but, as Dhawan remains a short favourite at around 2.757/4 to top score for Delhi, I won't make him the recommendation this time. Others to consider include Iyer and Rishabh Pant at 4.03/1 or possibly longer.
Matt Harris' IPL P/L
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