Back Kohli to take RCB home

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Delhi Capitals v Royal Challengers Bangalore
Saturday April 16th, 15:00 BST
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

Delhi defiant

I’d written off Delhi earlier in the week and still feel that the departure of Kagiso Rabada will hurt the team as the tournament develops. Anrich Nortje will be sidelined for this match and the loss of last season’s twin spearhead could be critical.

Last time out against KKR, the batters effectively won the game with Prithivi Shaw and David Warner both passing half centuries on the way to a total of 215/5. The impressive Kuldeep Yadav claimed four wickets as Kolkata flailed at the death and the Capitals were comfortable enough to use seven bowlers.

There is variety in the attack and key batters have returned to form but Delhi fans would now like to see Rishabh Pant and Rovman Powell get into the runs.

RCB adapting to life after AB

We tend to look at Royal Challengers Bangalore as the IPL’s underachievers but they generally tend to sail through the regular season. Problems only start to come at the serious stage of the competition.

That’s a generalisation but RCB supporters may well be concerned at a record of three wins from five at this stage. Losing AB De Villiers is a blow but when Virat Kohli is out of touch, the remaining batters have to really step up on a consistent basis.

Consistency was never a major part of Glenn Maxwell’s game but the Big Show needs to take some big responsibility. The young domestic batting contingent, including Anuj Rawat and Suyash Prabhudessai have been impressive but Bangalore need more from Kohli, Maxwell and Faf Du Plessis.

Welcome to the Wankhede

The Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai takes on hosting duties and this will be the sixth game of IPL 15 to take place here. Of the previous five, four teams have won while chasing while the only side to win while batting first did so by a narrow three-run margin.

Delhi play here for the first time this season while Royal Challengers won on their previous appearance, beating Rajasthan by four wickets.

The toss could be vital and, on a ground where the average first innings score has been relatively low at 152, it’s a day to insert and keep the opposition down to around 150 – 160.

There’s little to split these teams in terms of opening records at IPL 15 but the result betting is pointing towards a Bangalore win. RCB lead the way at 1.9110/11 while Delhi are close behind at 2.0421/20.

There should be a lot of support for the Capitals in a game which could be even closer than the market suggests. Much depends on the openers Shaw and Warner with the middle order out of touch.

Royal Challengers are just as inconsistent but I’m expecting a general improvement in the batting. Faf Du Plessis and Virat Kohli are the key men for me and I’m backing those two to get their team over the line.

I’m torn between Virat Kohli and Faf Du Plessis as my recommendation for RCB’s top batter. New skipper Faf got off to a fast start with 88 from 57 balls in the first game but maybe the pressures of leading this unpredictable team are taking a toll.

Moving onto Kohli, it’s always dangerous to pick a player out of touch but the former captain is too good to be kept down for long. A price boost on the sportsbook has swayed me so I’m taking Virat Kohli at 11/4.

Other options in this market include Du Plessis at 5/2, Glenn Maxwell at 4/1, Anuj Rawat at 11/2 and Dinesh Karthik at 11/1.

I suspect the biggest threat to my match winning prediction will come from David Warner. As soon as the powerful left hander finds form, he can be difficult to shift.

I’m staying with two picks but there are options involving Warner. He’s on offer at 13/5 to top score for Delhi while a price of 8/11 in the #OddsOnThat section for Warner to hit a 4 and a 6 look solid.