Delhi Capitals v Kings XI Punjab IPL Betting Tips: Classy Capitals can get off to a flyer

Cricketer Ravi Ashwin
IPL stalwart Ravi Ashwin is Delhi's new captain

Paul Krishnamurty previews Sunday's match from Dubai and explains why he's backing Delhi Capitals to win their first ever IPL title...

"I don't see a weakness in a balanced squad blessed with class, youth, versatility and experience."

Back Delhi Capitals to win IPL 2020 6u @ 7/18.2

Delhi Capitals v Kings XI Punjab
Sunday, 15:00 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

Arguably, there is no better time to find value bets on the IPL than right at the start. Teams are relatively closely matched in the outright betting, given the inevitable uncertainty about line-ups, compatibility and form.

The history, in fact, has been more predictable. Odds of 9/25.3 about favourites Mumbai Indians imply a 19% chance of defending their title. Yet after four titles in seven years, with basically the same team, their strike rate is 57%.

Likewise Chennai Super Kings are at 16%, despite finishing top-two in 80% of IPLs and never worse than fourth. Compare that to 9% odds for Kings XI Punjab, who've never won and only twice finished top-four.

Loss of home advantage could weaken the favourites

The relevance of that form in India is of course questionable, given this renewal is played in the Gulf. Mumbai and Chennai have built their success on formidable records at their home grounds. That advantage is lost.

I was delighted to get this fixture on the preview rota as it offers a chance to make the case from the outset for my main outright fancy. Delhi Capitals can't boast such illustrious history but they are a side on the up and nothing like an 7/18.2 chance in my book.

Capitals squad looks perfectly balanced

They have built a side around the best young Indian batting talent and the dividends begun to arrive last term, finishing third in the table, on the same points total as the leader. Further improvement is expected and Delhi will have far fewer dilemmas about accommodating overseas stars than most rivals.

I don't see a weakness in a balanced squad blessed with class, youth, versatility and experience. Three of last season's top-nine runscorers - Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer and the priceless Rishabh Pant. Prithvi Shaw, Marcus Stoinis and emerging West Indian Shimron Hetmeyer complete a fine batting unit, stacked with finishing power.

They'll get slogging support from the bowlers too, whether Keemo Paul, Axar Patel or Ravi Ashwin. The last two form part of a high-class batch of spinners, which is essential in the U.A.E. Here, I'm most interested in Sandeep Lamichhane after some impressive CPL performances. Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma and Daniel Sams offer quality pace options too.

Punjab expected to struggle again

In contrast, there's little to imply today's opponents will fare any better than usual. Chris Gayle defied most expectations, certainly mine, last term but is clearly past his best. If he fails, their top order becomes too reliant on K L Rahul.

Most worrying for Punjab is the lack of spinners. They've picked a squad for their home ground, Mohali, packed with pace. Again, that leaves them too reliant on Mujeeb ur Rahman and tough selection decisions between their overseas alternatives.

Because only three grounds will be used during this IPL, we should be able to glean significant clues moving forward. There's a bank of recent form to study at Dubai International Cricket Stadium - whether Pakistan matches, PSL or ICC qualifiers.

Chasers preferred at this ground

The long-term evidence points to a slow, low-scoring pitch. In 49 PSL or international matches from 2017, two-thirds of first innings totals were under 160. The chasing team won 31, compared to 18 for the defenders.

That trend, however, was completely reversed during the ICC World Cup qualifiers last autumn. Twelve out of 15 matches went to the side batting first.

I'm sceptical about reading too much into this as several matches were one-sided. Expect whoever wins the toss to field first and the market to move towards the chaser. Hence no pre-match bet on Delhi.

Could the run-line be set too low?

There is a good chance that 1st Innings Runs totals will be underestimated, because the overall average is low. Here, those ICC matches may be instructive.

As they drew on, very low scores became frequent, in keeping with the norm for this stadium. However the first five matches yielded totals of 180 and beyond, twice above 200.

There will be a fresh pitch for the start of a new tournament and there is plenty of power and talent to take advantage. Last term, Delhi hit 213 in their opener.

It is hard to predict precisely where the run line will open, but I'll be looking to back 180 plus at 2/13.0 or higher if Delhi bat first.

Eleven maximums isn't a big ask for these batsmen

Over 10.5 Sixes is a bet that would lose more often that not at this ground but, in light of the above comments, it isn't a daunting target. Remember these IPL sides have greater batting power than their PSL equivalents, let alone in qualifiers.

Top Delhi Batsman isn't a market that especially appeals because it is so wide open. If Marcus Stoinis were to open, 13/2 would be huge but we're guessing.

For Punjab, I don't think you'll go too far wrong backing KL Rahul in each game at these 13/5 odds. He was second on the tournament run-list last term with 593 runs and is now captain.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

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Saturday 19 September, 2.59pm

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