Delhi Capitals v Chennai Super Kings
Saturday, 15:00 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
At odds of 5/61.87, this may very well be the shortest price Delhi Capitals have ever started against Chennai. Very few have against the most consistent side in IPL history. Especially a franchise that has never made the final.
Two sides moving in opposite directions
This season is all change. Delhi Capitals sit joint top of the table – a brilliant young side, on the up. Chennai are sixth, ageing rapidly and probably need five wins from their last six games to maintain their perfect play-off appearance record.
Delhi bossed the reverse fixture, winning by 44 runs, although they did have the crucial advantage of batting first at Dubai. That dynamic is far less obvious at Sharjah, where the chasing side won last time.
Delhi start worthy favourites
Besides the obvious – that T20 cricket is incredibly unpredictable – I can’t find a logical argument to bet against the favourites. Delhi look perfectly balanced. I’m trying my ‘25% rule’ here and placing an order to back them at 11/82.36 in-running.
Five batsmen averaging over 30 in the competition, amongst whom the worst strike-rate is 133, plus finishing power. Even without the injured Rishabh Pant, they have depth but perhaps more significantly, their bowlers will be very hard to dominate.
Both sets of bowlers are economical
Delhi have five bowlers with an economy below 8.0. Kagiso Rabada is the standout bowler of the tournament, very ably assisted by Anrich Nortje. They have 28 wickets combined. Now pitches are getting slower, expect their spinners to make a bigger mark. Maybe Sandeep Lamichhane will get a game?
CSK kept their hopes alive by beating Sunrisers. In defending 167, they reiterated their bowlers’ ability to restrict, especially as these pitches slow. They did have the advantage of batting first at Dubai, though, and their previous two performances were poor. 10/111.0 to win the title does not appeal.
Returning to Sharjah sends a bit of shiver down my spine, following what I rank as one of my unluckiest ever bets last time. Having recommended the maximum bet on under 21.5 sixes, the bet was foiled on the very last ball, when only a single was needed, by a new batsman.
When there were only five off the first 19 overs of the first innings, I was counting the winnings. It sums up a horrific run this season in match previews, for which I can only apologise and pray my Delhi outright bet enables some sort of recovery plan.
Par still overestimated at Sharjah
Nevertheless, that particular bet is one I would have every time. The argument stands. 21.5 is too high.
Chennai average 5.5 sixes per match. Delhi concede 5.4. Conditions are slowing everywhere, notably at Sharjah in the last two matches. The number of sixes fell with every match previously and even after that narrow loss, two out of the last three at Sharjah produced under 21.5
Although RCB recovered to 171 in that previous match, they were struggling to reach 160. Par started at 190 or more and never looked on. Laying ‘Unders’ at 8/131.6 on the 180 plus 1st Innings Runs line paid off and is worth trying again, especially if Chennai bat first.
Who will make the play-offs? This week on Cricket…Only Bettor
I discussed this game with Ed Hawkins on the latest episode of Cricket…Only Bettor, and we agreed on Sam Curran at tasty odds from Chennai’s middle-order. Right on cue, he gets elevated to opener and odds of just 9/2!
Consequently, nothing appeals in the Top Batsman markets. Delhi’s top order are all top-class and evenly matched. There’s an OddsBoost of 3/1 available for Shikhar Dhawan, who topscored last time.
For Chennai, I prefer to look for middle-order finishers. However Curran is no longer an option at these odds, while both Dhoni and Jadeja are also short enough.
Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty