Rajasthan Royals v Delhi Capitals
Friday 22 April, 15:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Rajasthan back at it
Rajasthan got back on track after defeat by Gujarat Titans to win a thriller against Kolkata Knight Riders. After amassing 217 they managed to hold on by just seven runs.
Should we be alarmed that such a strong bowling attack came under heavy pressure? For now, we'll let it fly as this appears to be a run-laden tournament. In the past we might have judged such a side harshly but we need to be more flexible.
What we do know is they are taking a bit of a risk with five bowling options. Against KKR they didn't have faith in Riyan Parag's leggies. A reliable sixth option may be tricky for them to find.
Probable XI: Buttler, Jaiswal, Paddikal, Samson, Hetmyer, Nair, Parag, Ashwin, Krishna, Boult, Chahal
Delhi shook off a Covid crisis to beat Punjab Kings on Wednesday and make a giant leap towards the play-offs. The nine-wicket success with 57 balls remaining gives them a net run rate of 0.9 which could make all the difference in a tight race.
It is unfortunate that they come up against the Royals with the illness sweeping through the camp. Mitchell Marsh and Tim Seifert are both out and more players are likely to come a cropper. Sarfaraz Khan has been drafted in to give it a tonk at No 3.
It is arguable that Marsh will not be missed considering his disastrous innings cost them victory against Bangalore. They also need Rishabh Pant to discover some form.
Probable XI: Shaw, Warner, Sarfaraz, Pant, Powell, L Yadav, Thakur, Axar, Kuldeep, Mustafizur, Khaleel
This game was originally scheduled to take place at the MCA in Pune but because of the Covid cases in the Delhi camp it has been moved to Mumbai at the Wankhede.
It will therefore be the seventh game to be played at the venue this tournament. The previous six first-innings scores (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second, most recent first) read: 189-1/165-1/169-2/137-2/158-2/138-2.
It is something of a trend buster with bowlers to the fore. Rajasthan, so dangerous with the bat, posted the 165 and 169. With runs par lines creeping up - and expected to be set at a minimum of 177.5 - this might be a short.
Delhi can trade favs
Could these two be the best teams in IPL? There are burgeoning examples of decent metrics on the boundary percentages with bat and ball.
So 2.1211/10 Delhi is not the worst bet in the world as they are well-matched against Royals (Bearing in mind that fifth bowler issue).
At the very least we have them trading at skinny favourites and with Khaleel Ahmed and Mustafizur excellent pace options, Jos Buttler and co may face their sternest test. Bet the match odds here
There's a wrong price that we cannot ignore on the top Delhi bat market. Sarfaraz is priced at 13/1 despite having batted first down against Punjab.
Now, it could be that Delhi promoted him to give him a hit when there was no pressure. Or it is their strategy. Certainly their boundary percentage rating suggests they are gung-ho. And it is about time a franchise said to the extremely talented hitter 'go on, then, play with freedom', Anyway, he's not a 13s poke.
We also like Shardul Thakur at 40s because of the rationale that the Royals will look to hit that Delhi opening pair hard with pace.
To that end David Warner v Trent Boult is interesting. Warner has a poor record against Boult, striking at just 62 in T20i with two 'outs' and 109 with zero outs in franchise. Sportsbook go 10/11 Warner scores under 24.5
For Royals, Buttler is value on win rate at a boosted 11/5. His form is sensational but there's a nagging doubt that he can keep hitting big ones.
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