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Kolkata Knight Riders vs Delhi Capitals
Sunday April 10th, 11:00 BST
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Kolkata riding high
Three wins from their opening four games puts KKR at the top of the overall group table heading into the third weekend. Pat Cummins took the headlines for his 15-ball 56 last time out but it’s been a solid all-round performance that keeps the Knight Riders clear on net run rate.
There have been contributions with the bat from Andre Russell, Ajinkya Rahane, Venkatesh Iyer, Cummins and Sam Billings and Kolkata have yet to welcome Aaron Finch into the starting XI.
There are no real concerns for KKR at this stage, but they will need to make effective overseas selections moving forward with Finch and Tim Southee among those currently on the sidelines.
Just one win in three keeps Delhi Capitals in seventh place and issues within the side were highlighted in their most recent defeat to Lucknow.
Last season, the twin South African spearhead of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje helped Delhi top the regular table but Rabada is now playing elsewhere while his former teammate was ineffective on his return to action. Ironically, Nortje’s removal from the attack following two beamers may have worked in the Capitals’ favour after returning figures of 0/35 from just 14 legitimate deliveries.
It would be wrong to single out two players: There are concerns through this Delhi side and, while it was encouraging to see Rishabh Pant showing some form with the bat, the Capitals need big performances from overseas picks David Warner and Rovman Powell on Sunday.
Capital comforts at the Brabourne?
Delhi Capitals’ solitary victory at IPL 15 to date came at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai back in Match 2. The venue hosts its fifth game of the tournament and it’s provided one of the faster scoring surfaces to date.
In four previous matches, the average first innings score has been a respectable 189. Three of those targets have been chased down while one has gone to the side batting first.
Previous games indicate that both teams will want to insert but, on a higher scoring pitch, that could be a risky tactic with scoreboard pressure likely to play a part in the second half.
Match result betting shows Kolkata Knight Riders as favourites at 1.84/5 with Delhi Capitals following on at 2.01/1. Considering their respective starts to the season, there are no surprises in those numbers; there may have been a bigger gap but Delhi are a strong side and I expect them to climb the table as IPL 15 develops.
As for Sunday’s game, it’s a tight call and much could depend on that toss. There are a number of Capitals batters yet to fire and a big contribution from Rishabh Pant, David Warner or Rovman Powell could swing the game to the outsiders.
KKR have, however, been so impressive as a unit and I’ll get behind Shreyas Iyer’s men on that basis.
Kolkata’s new skipper Shreyas Iyer has been an impressive leader and should bring some stability to the side after some captaincy chaos at IPL 14. He’s yet to really contribute with the bat but he returned some good Top Batsman profits for me while at Delhi.
As he faces his former franchise, I’m backing Shreyas Iyer at 7/2 on the sportsbook to top score for KKR. Other options include the favourite Venkatesh Iyer at 3/1, Ajinkya Rahane at 7/2, Andre Russell at 15/2 and Pat Cummings at 13/1.
Having seen Rovman Powell blitz 107 from 53 balls for West Indies against England earlier this year, I’m convinced he’ll come good in this tournament. For Sunday’s game, Powell to top score for Delhi looks exceptionally tempting at 8/1.
As an alternative, the #OddsOnThat section has a number of strong options. The one that stands out for me is Rishabh Pant to hit a 4 and a 6, although it’s relatively short at 4/7.
I’ll stay with two selections for this game but Powell is the biggest threat to my match winning pick.