Mumbai Indians v Delhi Capitals: Power hitters to make hay at the Wankhede again

Delhi Capitals cricketer Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant made a special impression in last year's IPL
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Paul Krishnamurty previews Sunday afternoon's IPL match, as Mumbai Indians and a new-look Delhi Capitals kick off their campaigns...

"Rishabh Pant was by far the most prolific batsmen among these last term. If around at the death, he can clear the Wankhede boundaries to devastating effect."

Back Rishabh Pant to be Top Match Batsman @ 13-1

Mumbai Indians v Delhi Capitals
Sunday, 14:30 GMT
Live on Star Gold (Sky Channel 729)

Sharma's superstars have something to prove

Three-time champions Mumbai remain one of IPL's super teams and start this campaign rated second best in the outright betting at [6.4]. Nevertheless, they have something to prove after missing last year's play-offs - the second time that once unthinkable outcome has materialised in three seasons.

In fairness they ruined last season early - losing their first three and winning only one of their first six - and fought back well to only miss out by one place.

Failure owed much to only two batsmen scoring 300 runs, neither of whom surprisingly was Rohit Sharma. Expect the skipper to bounce back and be ably supported by Quinton De Kock and Evan Lewis at the top of the order. When keeping early wickets in tact, Mumbai will post some extreme totals.

Delhi should be stronger this term

To say Delhi were a one man team last season is a bit harsh but one must wonder how bad the bottom-placed side would have fared without Rishabh Pant's 684 runs. Of the rest, only Shreyas Iyer on 411 reached 250. Their only prolific wicket taker, Trent Boult with 18, went at an expensive 8.84 per over.

Will a rebrand work for these perennial underachievers? There is certainly enough talent now Pant is supported by Shikhar Dhawan and Colin Ingram. Teenage spinner Sandeep Lamichhane is a superstar in this format and Kagiso Rabada one of the world's great fast bowlers. Very promising, but we've said that before.

High totals are the norm at the Wankhede

The Wankhede Stadium is a relatively high-scoring ground, where most innings end up somewhere between 160 and 180. 17 matches over the last two seasons produced only two first innings totals below 140 - one of which was 139. The other end of the scale includes 213 and 230.

I suspect we will see at least one score above 200 at the Wankhede this season, especially given Mumbai's explosive top-three. If available at [6.0] or bigger, that would be a decent play. Par is around 175.

The total boundary lines are set, correctly, high at Over 28.5 Fours and Over 13.5 Sixes. The latter line was breached in six out of nine matches last season and, given the extreme batting power in both sides, is not a excessive target.

Mumbai rate poor value on seasonal debut

Given their respective tournament pedigree and home advantage, it is no surprise to see Mumbai trading at [1.75], but that is plenty short enough pre-toss, in the first match of the season. 13 of the last 21 IPL matches here were won by the team batting second.

Plus there is a chance that Delhi are under-rated. The second half of innings at the Wankhede are invariably boundary-fests and the visitors have some extremely powerful finishers in Ingram and Chris Morris. At [2.28], they look the better value.

Mumbai top order hard to separate

5-1 about Suryakumar Yadav for top-scorer for Mumbai immediately stands out on the basis that his 512 runs last season was 130 ahead of the next best, Evin Lewis. The problem is guessing their order. They opened together in several matches, but Rohit is expected to do so this time and De Kock comes into the equation too.

Pant remains Delhi's star man

Delhi too might have a reshuffle to accomodate the new faces but one must assume Rishabh Pant will come in early. He scored over a quarter of all Delhi runs last term and is expected to make another massive impact. As always this market is wide open but he's certainly the one to beat and 7/2 is fair.

An arguably better value way of backing Pant is to be Top Match Batsman at 13-1. To reiterate, he was by far the most prolific batsmen among these last term. If around at the death, he can clear the Wankhede boundaries to devastating effect.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

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