The Kings XI Punjab travel to Delhi as table-toppers after four wins in five IPL 2018 matches. James Buttler believes they can't be ignored...
"Chris Gayle can never be ignored. When he is he either tweets himself back into the headlines or blast a rapid T20 century, just as he did in KXIP's match against the Sunrisers."
Delhi Daredevils v Kings XI Punjab
Monday April 23, 15:30
TV: live on Sky Sports
The Daredevils have not made a great start to IPL 2018, losing three of their four matches and doing nothing to persuade the doubters that they are a genuine contender this time around. The Daredevils are yet to reach the final stages of the IPL and that isn't going to change this season.
In Gautim Gambhir they have a captain who has lifted the trophy twice with Kolkata Knight Riders, but the inspirational skipper has his work cut out this time around.
The Daredevils will be hoping that a change of scene can spark a revival. This will be their first match at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi, but the home venue doesn't alter the fact that this Delhi side are not contenders for the latter stages of the IPL once again.
Kings XI Punjab
A confident Kings XI Punjab squad travel to Delhi after impressive wins against Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders. These victories over three teams with real claims to qualify for the final knockings of IPL 2018 underline the strengths of this Punjab squad.
Four wins in their opening five matches see them top the table and have set a platform for the likes of Chris Gayle, Lokesh Rahul and David Miller to tee off with the bat. And with Andrew Tye and Ravi Ashwin among their bowlers they have a real sniff of glory this season.
Desite the fact that neither of these franchises have ever won the IPL the Kings XI appear to be a class above their rivals in this encounter and, although it's short, the slightly better Sportsbook price of 3/4 on a Punjab win should appeal.
These sides have met 20 times before and Kings XI lead the head-to-heads 11-9, although Delhi have won three of the last five matches played. Delhi also have the upper hand in matches played at this ground, leading 5-4 from the nine games played at the Feroz Shah Kotla. It's tight on the stats, but for me, Kings XI are a very strong play in this one.
Jason Roy at 11/4 and Gambhir at 3/1 head this market, but Delhi have a number of bits and pieces players who provide better value. Although it's difficult to ever bet against Gambhir, one of the highest run-scorers in IPL history, the pressure of leading a struggling franchise may hamper his own personal success.
Rishabh Pant is a young Indian I think will go all the way in the game and he takes my money at 10/3, with a half-stakes nibbles on lower-order hitters Dan Christian and Chris Morris, both at 20/1, who can blast quick runs if early wickets clatter.
Chris Gayle can never be ignored. When he is he either tweets himself back into the headlines or blast a rapid T20 century, just as he did in KXIP's match against the Sunrisers. His unbeaten 104 from 63 balls was his sixth IPL ton. His 11 sixes took his career IPL tally to a record 280. The 38-year-old Jamaican said after his knock: "A lot of people thought I'm too old. After this innings, I have nothing to prove."
But I'm not playing Gayle at a far too short 15/8. He is mercurial, inconsistent and not someone to trust with your money. His opening partner Lokesh Rahul, by contrast, is the trustworthy option. Raful blasted a fifty from just 14 balls against Delhi in their earlier IPL 2018 encounter and he's a man on a mission. Hopefully his mission will land us some cash at 13/5.
My half-stakes nibble in this market goes with South African David Miller. The left-handed middle-order powerhouse is available at 9/2. Miller, with 222 runs, is the most successful player in this fixture from the current squads.
Again I say it! Always a play in any T20 and the price of 7/4 is worth playing in every game.
James Buttler at IPL 2018
Units Staked 12.00
Units Returned 10.85
Profit/Loss: -1.15 units
AT IPL 2017
Units Staked 47.00