Punjab Kings' underrated number four and the ever-accurate and consistent Chris Woakes make up Jamie Pacheco's selections ahead of this tight match...
"For Delhi we like Chris Woakes for top bowler honours. He was instrumental in their win against CSK with 2/18 and was also excellent against the Royals with figures of 2/22. He dismissed the two openers and bowled with excellent control."
Delhi Capitals v Punjab Kings
Sunday April 18, 15:00
TV: live on Sky Sports Cricket
Overseas players need to step up
Two games have yielded a win and a defeat. It should probably be two wins, really.
Against Rajasthan they did all the hard work by taking regular wickets and dismissing all of the Royals' dangermen in defending a low total. Almost all.
They let Chris Morris get settled, Tom Curran in particular was guilty of bowling some really poor balls at the big South African and he and Delhi got punished.
Earlier Rishabh Pant showed he's in a class of his own with the bat, scoring a brilliant half-century before running himself out, admittedly with a sharp piece of fielding.
But they're going to need more from Ricky Ponting's Golden Boy Marcus Stoinis, who was expensive with the ball and out for a duck with the bat.
After that poor performance, Curran is likely to make way either for fast bowler Anrich Nortje or for an extra batsman, probably Steve Smith, if they feel that's where they need to strengthen. Axar Patel should be good to go after recovering from Covid.
Likely XI: Shaw, Dhawan, Smith, Pant, Rahane, Stoinis, Woakes, Patel, Ashwin, Rabada, Khan.
Kings need to strengthen batting
What a horror show from the Punjab Kings with the bat. There was some smart bowling from CSK on a pitch with something in it on Friday but there were also some pretty ugly dismissals.
KL Rahul ran himself out, Nicholas Pooran and Chris Gayle mistimed shots, Mayank Agarwal was clean bowled by a straight one and the rest weren't much better.
Perhaps the only surprise was that they took four wickets as CSK chased their paltry total with over four overs to spare.
Everyone can have a bad day at the office but they're not going to go very far with Jye Richardson batting at seven. That's an important position (they all are) when you lose too many wickets and need someone who can score quickly in the death overs and bat with the tail if necessary; Richardson doesn't look equipped to doing it.
With Riley Meredith pretty ordinary so far, one solution would be a straight swap for all-rounders Fabien Allen or Moises Henriques, who's more of a batting all-rounder. Either of those coming in would strengthen their batting, which needs it.
Likely XI: Rahul, Agarwal, Gayle, Hooda, Pooran, Shakrukh Khan, Allen, Richardson, Ashwin, Shami, Singh.
Mumbai wicket proving tricky
Were they really playing at Mumbai on Friday?
Punjab made plenty of mistakes but it was a tricky two-paced wicket they were batting on and took many by surprise because at this ground you'd expect 160 to be a bare minimum first up. The fact that the likes of Raturaj Gaikwad couldn't get it off the square when he was batting for CSK suggest it wasn't just Punjab who found it hard.
Of course, it's anyone's guess as to which strip they'll use for this game but that's now two matches in a row where where the side batting first failed to post 150. One option is to look to lay 160 runs at odds-on.
Punjab stronger over the years
Last year's runners-up Delhi are favourites at 1.784/5. That's because of last year's overall performance and the fact that they're presumably seen as having the better players, which we can just about accept as true.
But it's the Kings who are 15-11 up on the head-to-head over the years and it's the Kings who have won four of the last six. That should be five out of the last six because they threw away a win last season that included needing just one off the last ball and the batsman hitting it straight to Kagiso Rabada; Delhi went on to win the Super Over.
It's hard to make a call on the match winner market because of the uncertainty of the wicket but it should make for some good trading opportunities on the Exchange between two well-matched sides.
Hooda stands out like a sore thumb
It's not hard to spot the value on the Punjab top batsman market. Numbers 1, 2, 3 and 5 are priced up at 15/8, 7/2, 7/2 and 4/1 respectively with the man almost certain to bat at 4, Deepak Hooda, available at a monster 9/1.
A good case of reputations kicking in if ever we've seen one. Of course, we're not suggesting Hooda is the player KL Rahul or Chris Gayle are but then again, he doesn't need to be. He just needs to beat them on the day.
He showed good intent in scoring 64 off 28 in the first game, a knock that included six sixes. On another day that could well have been enough but Rahul got 91. Hooda will have another chance to top score here at a price we can't turn down.
Woakes in great shape
For Delhi we like Chris Woakes for top bowler honours. He was instrumental in their win against CSK with 2/18 and was also excellent against the Royals with figures of 2/22. He dismissed the two openers and bowled with excellent control.
He should keep his place after those performances and though the likes of Rabada (9/4) and Nortje (11/4, but might not play) are excellent bowlers, they're also considerably shorter prices.
Another return of two wickets here and Woakes will very much be in business. At 7/2.
Jamie Pacheco's 2021 IPL
Points Wagered: 4pts
Points Returned: 0
P ad L: -4