Delhi Capitals v Rajasthan Royals: Hosts worth taking on without Rabada

Cricketer Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane's men are tipped to upset the odds

With Delhi weakened by the loss of their strike bowler, Paul Krishnamurty says Rajasthan are decent value to upset the odds and keep their faint qualification hopes alive...

"The Nepalese teenager's four overs could be Delhi's most potent threat in Rabada's absence."

Back Sandeep Lamicchane to be Top Delhi Wicket Taker 2u @ 7/2

Delhi Capitals v Rajasthan Royals
Saturday, 11:30 BST
Live on BT Sport and Star Gold (Sky Channel 729)

Rabada loss a huge blow for Delhi

The change in franchise name has paid off, with Delhi Capitals secure of a play-off spot - something Daredevils hadn't managed since 2012.

Today is all about finishing top-two - which means two cracks at the reaching a first ever final. To do so, Delhi need to win and then hope Mumbai lose their last match, or Chennai lose theirs by a big margin.

In a significant setback, however, they will have to do with their match winning bowler for the rest of the series. Kagiso Rabada has a back injury so no chances are being taken prior to the World Cup. He's now far from certain to remain top tournament bowler, with Imran Tahir only four behind his 25 wicket tally.

Rajasthan dreams still alive

As outright odds of 79/180.0 imply, Royals path to the last-four is extremely narrow. They must win this and then hope two further matches go their way.

All things considered, they would probably have settled for a no result last time, after the rain returned when needing 22 off ten against RCB. A win would have barely improved their situation given a dire run-rate. Due to that extra point, the aforementioned treble would be enough regardless of run-rate.

They too are severely weakened since Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes returned to England, placing much pressure on their replacements such as Oshane Thomas and Liam Livingstone. The former has started well with five wickets from three matches at a respectable economy.

180 will be hard to beat

Delhi's 187 in the last Feroz Shah Kotla match was the highest first innings total in six matches here this season and comfortably enough.

That makes it 17 scores of 160 or better in the last 20 IPL matches here, although two of the low ones were this season. The pitch is slower and par lower than usual, but still probably 170 given the short boundaries.

Batting first could be an advantage

Captains nearly always choose to chase nowadays but that is a dubious strategy here. 11 of the last 20 matches here were won by the team batting first and dew won't be a factor earlier in the day.

If, as usual, the market favours the chasers then I advise going the other way. This pitch has been much slower this season and runs on the board is the way forward.

One-sided pre-toss odds of 5/71.71 about Delhi are fair enough on the basis of the whole season's form but less so of late. Rajasthan were chasing a third straight win before the rain while Delhi were thrashed last time. Without Rabada, the hosts are worth taking on.

Delhi's late sloggers could represent value

Shikhar Dhawan makes little appeal at 23/10 at the top of a wide-open Delhi runscorer market. Any one of several finishers - Rishabh Pant, Colin Ingram or even rank outsiders Chris Morris or Axar Patel could win this with a late slog.

Lamicchane offers host's biggest threat

In contrast, I would rather be on an early Rajasthan batsman, rather than having to counter the threat of Sandeep Lamicchane later on. Ajinya Rahane tops their list at 11/4.

The Nepalese teenager's four overs could be Delhi's most potent threat in Rabada's absence and he appeals at 7/2 to take most wickets for his side.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

2019 IPL Stats:

-1.3 units

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