Delhi Daredevils v Rising Pune Supergiant: Back Pune's surge to continue

Will Steve Smith top bat for the Supergiants in Friday's IPL offering?
Will Steve Smith top bat for the Supergiants in Friday's IPL offering?
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Delhi have recorded some impressive recent wins despite their early elimination from IPL 10 but Matt Harris believes that the depth of quality in this Supergiants' unit is key to Friday's game...

"Pune would have been more comfortable with Rahane hitting form, thereby allowing them to win with more ease than they have been."

Delhi Daredevils v Rising Pune Supergiant
Friday 15:30 BST
Live on Sky Sports

Delhi Daredevils

How do you base a prediction on a team that has chased down 185 and 208 in the last two weeks - efforts that came between two scores of 67 and 66? If there is a pattern to Delhi's play, results show they are stronger at home with three of their five wins coming at the Feroz Shah Kotla while four out of six defeats have come on the road.

Shreyas Iyer's brilliant 96 saw the Daredevils chase down another big total on Wednesday so there is depth and resilience and if the scheduling had given the side more home games at the start of the competition, they may still have been able to trouble the top four.

Clearly they are dangerous but when they do win, they tend to rely on one stunning performance such as Iyer's 96 or Sanju Samson's century in the reverse fixture against Pune. It's not, however, a strategy that will win tournaments.

Rising Pune Supergiant

Ben Stokes gets a lot of credit for Pune's rise up the table but where teams such as Delhi are relying on individuals, this is a real team effort. MS Dhoni actually led the Supergiants' recovery, chasing down an improbable win against the Sunrisers and Steve Smith has been consistent leaving Ajinkya Rajane as the only real disappointment among the batsmen.

Imran Tahir - unavailable for this game due to international commitments - was a belated but inspired acquisition and while Stokes' death bowling rightly takes some praise, it's actually Tahir and Unadkat in second and third place in terms of most wickets taken at IPL 10.

Pune would have been more comfortable with Rahane hitting form, thereby allowing them to win with more ease than they have been but the ability to get over the line in tight finishes is encouraging for the rest of the tournament and they're not far short of being the perfect T20 unit.

Venue and Conditions

Over five games at the Feroz Shah Kotla this season, the average first innings score is a very healthy 192 and we've seen three team totals exceed 200. It's a high scoring ground obviously but wins are evenly balanced in terms of sides batting first and those chasing.

185 is therefore a minimum target for the team taking first knock but one issue could be a very poor weather forecast which, if 100% correct, might force our second abandonment of the season. Hopefully it won't be quite so severe but it's a likely case of batting second on Friday.

Match Odds

Result betting shows the Supergiants at [1.85] while Delhi are out at [2.16] and that's to be expected given the respective positions in the table. However, the Daredevils have decent form and while the Feroz Shah Kotla isn't exactly a fortress, the hosts are more comfortable on this surface.

While the immediate fate of these two sides has already been settled, Pune still have plenty to play for and will want to finish in the top two to avoid a potentially more circuitous route into the final.

Delhi, however, unlike teams such as RCB, look far from demoralised despite an early exit and they are a threat but Pune's quality and momentum should see them claim the win, although the toss could be crucial depending on the weather.

Top Pune Batsman

Betting is often about finding a winning formula and sticking to it and I can't give you greater insight into why I'm backing Steve Smith at around the [3.4] mark. Unlike 2016, it's not been a tournament where the Kolhis and Warners have dominated for their respective teams but Smith will give you consistency and the ability to take responsibility in an important match.

Stokes and Rahul Tripathi at around [5.0] or possibly longer are other options while it's time for Rahane to do something but Smith will hopefully be a better pick.

Top Delhi Batsman

I really wanted to play safer with the last tip and suggest a market with fewer options such as most sixes but Delhi have just introduced a batsman who has given me consistent profits for his country and for a number of T20 franchises.

He should have been picked up at the auction, he should have been brought in as soon as Quinton De Kock was ruled out and he plays like he doesn't care, but he lifts his game against his nemesis Ben Stokes and if you can get around [7.0] or longer for Marlon Samuels, that's a great value price.

Recommended Bet:
Back Steve Smith to top score for Rising Pune Supergiant at [3.4]

Matt Harris' IPL P/L

Staked: 22pts
Returns: 18.30pts
P/L: -3.7pts

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