Delhi Capitals v Kings XI Punjab: Back low scores on very slow Delhi pitch

Cricketer Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan is favourite to top-score for Delhi

Paul Krishnamurty previews Saturday's match from Feroz Shah Kotla, where scoring has become much harder this season...

"This definitely looks an 'unders' situation given a very slow pitch."

Lay 160 or more 1st Innings Runs 5u @ 1.75/7

Lay 150 or more 1st Innings Runs 5u @ 1.42/5

Delhi Capitals v Kings XI Punjab
Saturday, 15:30 GMT
Live on BT Sport and Star Gold (Sky Channel 729)

Tied for third place, both of these perennial strugglers are finally enjoying themselves in the IPL. Delhi haven't finished top-four in seven years and have never reached a final. Punjab haven't reached the play-offs since 2014 and have only ever done so twice. Three wins from their last five matches would be enough to qualify.

Delhi have made genuine, significant progress

Despite a heavy defeat at home last time, Delhi's upgraded squad have made significant progress. Contributions have come from throughout the side, with the top-four batsmen all scoring beyond 200 runs.

With 19 wickets, Kagiso Rabada is the tournament's clear leading wicket-taker. Chris Morris has been surprisingly effective with 11 wickets, especially during the death overs. We've yet to see the best of Sandeep Lamacchane but expect that to change now pitches are offering plenty of turn.

Openers driving Punjab title bid

Punjab's outright odds have risen slightly since I tipped them earlier in the tournament but are back on track following a 12-run victory over Rajasthan.

That came despite losing a third toss on the spin, with Kings XI this time setting a high enough total to defend. To be fair, they registered a decent total on both previous occasions.

Given that K L Rahul and Chris Gayle have contributed 739 runs already, with plenty of back-up, one would expect that trend to continue. The bowlers have been relatively expensive but there is plenty of quality - most notably Mohammed Shami.

Back unders on a very slow pitch

Despite the short boundaries and relatively run-friendly history at Feroz Shah Kotla, this definitely looks an 'unders' situation given a very slow pitch. In the previous two seasons, 160 was breached in 13 of 14 matches. It fell short in two of this season's four and the two higher scores were due to brilliant late slogs.

On Thursday, 168 proved easily enough. That pitch was very slow, yet the commentators suggested that it might be one of the better pitches here.

If the betting is the same, 160 or more will be available to lay at around 1.654/6 and 150 or more around 1.384/11. Lay them both at up to 1.75/7 and 1.42/5. If not, wait to do so in-running.

Big advantage to the team batting first

Thursday's toss was a rare example of the winner batting first. Rohit was clear that he thought the pitch would slow and so it proved. The team batting first has now won ten of the last 18 here and, with that advantage looking obvious last time, this is not a result to predict pre-toss.

Conditions ideal for openers to top-score

The time to make runs on this pitch is definitely early on against the new ball, so it makes good sense to back an opener to top-score. There is also a decent chance of chasing a low total which would offer a further advantage. Delhi's pair are Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw, available at 3/1 and 7/2 respectively.

Rahul and Gayle dominate Punjab list

That arguments applies even more to Punjab, for whom Rahul and Gayle have been magnificent. That is reflected by odds of just 23/10 and 11/4 respectively. Sarfaraz Khan, who is averaging 45.0 from number four, is a nicer priced alternative at 6/1.

Lamicchane to thrive on this pitch

As noted above, big things are expected of Nepalese teenager Sandeep Lamicchane. These slow conditions should be ideal for his leg spin talents and he's worth an interest at 7/2 to be top Delhi wicket-taker.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

2019 IPL Stats:

+20.1 units

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