Ed Hawkins previews Sunday's second double header and expects the chaser to suffer in Abu Dhabi...
"Pant had a win rate in the 40s before this tournament began. He has no wins in six. But with runs last term against Mumbai and an opposition bowling attack capable of stifling the top three 4/1 appeals"
Mumbai Indians v Delhi Capitals
Sunday October 15 11.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Mumbai Indians continue to motor along. It's four wins from six after they swotted aside Rajasthan Royals last time out.
They posted 193 for four with late hitting from Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya taking the wind out of Royals. Advisor Shane Warne had tweeted in-game bullishly about restricting Indians to 170.
The contest was over by the third over after Royals found themselves three down. Trent Boult, James Pattinson and Jasprit Bumrah are proving a formidable pace attack as Mumbai continue to confound the notion that it's spin that'll win it.
Possible XI De Kock, Rohit, Yadav, Kishan, Pollard, Hardik, Krunal, Pattinson, Chahar, Boult, Bumrah
Delhi Capitals are top of the table with five wins from six. They settled on their best XI and balance early in a process which has also gone against conventional wisdom.
We said Marcus Stoinis couldn't finish. We were wrong. We said Sandeep Lamichhane should be a lock. Well, they haven't needed him. Stoinis's transformation into a finisher is the last piece in the jigsaw and goes against all the data.
Perhaps their only concern is the form of Rishabh Pant. Pant has failed to hit the heights of the last two season and looks a little lost in his role, although he is perhaps merely guilty of not destroying attacks like he did. Perhaps his thunder has been stolen by Stoinis.
Probable XI Shaw, Dhawan, Iyer, Pant, Stoinis, Hetmyer, Axar, Ashwin, Harshal, Rabada, Nortje
Last year head-to-heads
MI 168-5 (Krunal 37*, Rabada 2-38) defended DC 128-9 (Dhawan 35, Chahar 3-19)
DC 213-6 (Pant 78*, McClenaghan 3-40) defended MI 176-9 (Rabada 2-23)
Overall MI 12 DC 12
There have been nine games at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The first-innings scores (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second) read: 164-1/167-1/193-1/154-2/191-1/162-1/142-2/195-1/162-2. From that selection eight an over should be enough. Both sides will be aware of that so it would be a surprise if we see the team batting first going hell for leather for something monstrous.
Mumbai are 4/51.83 favourites with Delhi 6/52.18. This should be a close affair and it could well be a dress rehearsal for the final.
The toss, though, is key on data for the venue and tournament as a whole. There's an extraordinary bias of 19-5 for the team batting first. On the head-to-heads, Mumbai have ten wins from 15 batting first. Delhi have seven wins from nine chasing.
With two bowling line-ups proving so smart this series we would expect scoreboard pressure to have the final say. If Delhi's price can hold at around the 10/111.90 mark with the flip in their favour they are a sound wager.
Pant had a win rate in the 40s before this tournament began. He has no wins in six. But with runs last term against Mumbai and an opposition bowling attack capable of stifling the top three, Sportsbook's 4/1 appeals. Likewise Stoinis at 8s who is underrated.
There are good vibes, too, for Kieron Pollard at 5/1. Mumbai's top order needs to be on its game or the likes of Polly will need a rescue job.
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Ed Hawkins IPL P-L
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