Punjab Kings v Delhi Capitals
Monday 16 May, 15:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Now or never for Punjab
Punjab beat RCB convincingly to keep their Playoff hopes alive. The other thing they did in addition to getting those two points was to drastically improve their net run ate thanks to the big margin of their win.
You'd think they'd need to win both their remaining two games to make the Playoffs but given that one of them (this one) is against a Playoff rival in Delhi, one win may just be enough if other results go their way. But yeah, realistically, they'll need to win them both.
Jonny Bairstow has had a quiet tournament by his standards but his brutal 66 off 29 was what got the ball rolling for them against RCB, Lima Livingstone carrying on from where he left off with an equally aggressive 70 off 42.
With the ball, it was a real team effort where the five bowlers used each took at least one wicket, Kagiso Rabada the stand-out performer with 3-21.
They're probably a better side than their position in the table suggests but lose this one and their season is over.
Punjab Kings' Likely XI
Dhawan, Bairstow, Rajapaksa, Livingstone, Agarwal, Sharma, Shahruck Khan, Smith, Rabada, Chahar, Aroa, Singh.
Delhi are peaking
Delhi needed to win their last match, and they did. Restricting Rajasthan to 160/6, they chased it with ease thanks to the Aussie duo of David Warner and Mitch Marsh.
Warner played a composed (and unbeaten) 52, Mitch Marsh a far more adventurous 89 off 62, missing out on a century but finally playing the sort of knock DC fans have been waiteing for.
Earlier, he took 2/25 off three overs, a reminder that there's more to his game than just clean hitting from number three. If he'd played like that on a regular basis earlier in the tournament, they'd probably have had their Playoff spot secured by now.
If they win their two remaining fixtures they'll have a good chance of making the Playoffs and if that happens, you really wouldn't discount them winning two in a row to make the final.
They're currently 13.5 to go all the way and that could be worth a couple of quid.
Prithvi Shaw has been ill for the last couple of matches but should be fit to return.
Delhi's Likely XI
Warner, Shaw, Marsh, Pant, L Yadav, Powell, Patel, Thakur, K Yadav, Nortje, Sakariya.
The DY Patil Stadium was the venue for that win by DC over RR on Friday so Delhi will have good memories of playing here.
That the Royals scored 160/6 was very much in line with the ground's par score. A week ago KKR got 165/9 to beat Mumbai easily and before that the Titans managed only 143, chased easily by...Punjab.
Meaning both these sides won on their last visit to the DY Patil.
But among those scores was also the 208/6 posted by CSK against Delhi, though that just looks like a bit of an anomaly.
So expect between 160-170 as a first-innings total and if it's within that bracket, it could go either way.
The match winner market is pretty much a choice affair.
I'd actually make Delhi favourites.
There's not much to choose between them in the table or in the head-to-head record but for my money, their bowling is better while the batting pretty much evens itself out.
With no real toss bias at the ground, Delhi rate a decent bet at almost even money.
Red-hot Warner a big bet at boosted odds
There are few more divisive figures in cricket than David Warner. Whether it's his personality and competitiveness than can at times go too far (his involvement in Sandpapergate being just one example) or even just whether he's still as good as he used to be, everyone will have an opinion on him.
But he's had an extremely good tournament and has hit 427 runs at an average of 61 to be his side's top runscorer by some distance. And this despite playing two games fewer than many on account of arriving late to the tournament.
And he's certainly in form now. His last nine knocks were: 61, 66, 60 not out, 28, 42, 3, 92 not out, 19 and 52.
He top-scored in five of the last nine and came pretty close the other day with that 52, only to be trumped by Marsh.
Some may feel he's due a failure, I feel he's in the form of his life and would have just about have rated a bet at 5/2. So he's certainly worth one at a boosted 3/1.
The case for Agarwal
Mayank Agarwal has been a curious case this season.
He took over from KL Rahul as skipper and was expected to be their rock at the top of the order on the back of two or three seasons where he seemed to get better by the year.
But a really poor run of form saw him selflessly demote himself down the order to four or five, effectively switching positions with Bairstow.
His own form didn't necessarily improve, although the switch was a good one for the team as a whole, and he has just one fifty all campaign.
But maybe all this is missing the point.
The point is he didn't become a bad player overnight, will bat at four or five and 81 is far too big a price all things considered.
This is a good Punjab batting line-up where Bairstow and Livingstone in particular are playing well. But due to the aggressive manner of their play, they take plenty of risks and are happy to get out if they're going for broke.
A couple of early wickets and Agarwal will have a decent chance of top-scoring at a price that's far too big.