We have another double header of action in the Indian Premier League on Thursday with the first part of it seeing the defending champions Mumbai Indians looking to get their campaign on track when they take on the Rajasthan Royals in Delhi.
These two sides both go into the match on four points so whoever wins this one will move into fourth spot in the table and put a couple of points between them as the chasing pack for that final postseason berth.
The Mumbai Indians must have circled this game on their schedule. That isn’t because they have anything against the Rajasthan Royals necessarily but more because it was the first time they could play outside of Chennai this season. Conditions there just did not suit the champions and the biggest indication of that is the fact that they have the lowest run rate in the death overs in the entire tournament. This is a side with Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard finishing innings off for them.
The other thing the switch to Delhi for a four match burst will do is bring their seamers into play a lot more. They are the strength of their bowling attack so we should see a much more confident and competent Mumbai Indians side here. If we don’t and they lose and go 2-4 for the season there will be reasons for concern for their fans because they won’t have any excuses here. I expect their big players to start to thrive now.
The Rajasthan Royals’ struggles have been a little more surprising because they have played all their matches in Mumbai so far this season. I wouldn’t have thought those conditions would have hurt them too much so we can only assume from that that their poor results so far is down to key players being out of form rather than anything else. Luckily, if the first match is anything to go by at least, they don’t go to a minefield here which will help them.
One area where they could be helped is in the death overs with the ball. They have been shocking in that discipline so far this season. One reason for that is an inexperienced captain, and a wicket-keeper one at that which I never like, but the other is the pitches in Mumbai offer nothing for the bowlers. At least here the skills of the bowlers are in the game even if the pitch is still pretty good for batting.
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With the Rajasthan Royals being the worst side in the competition at the death at the minute you would think Kieron Pollard can launch his campaign into life here. We know the dimensions of the ground aren’t big enough for him. If Kane Williamson can hit it all over the place then Pollard can. Expect a big innings from him.
Sanju Samson is more than just the captain and wicket keeper for this Rajasthan Royals team. He is the leading batsman and the wicket that all teams crave. If he can kick his Delhi campaign off with a bang it would go a long way to the Royals being competitive here.
I thought this would be a low scoring ground heading into the week because the pitches here are a little on the sticky side but it would appear that the square has been prepared for a block of matches so perhaps they will start off well before getting sluggish come the end of the Delhi run. The one thing which was a real surprise in the opening game here on Wednesday was the speed of the outfield. It was lightning fast and that leads me to my bet for this match.
That comes in the form of the boundaries where the line looks perfectly attainable at 39.5. The Sunrisers Hyderabad aren’t really a big hitting side but they still managed to put 19 boundaries on the board on Wednesday, a total which was blown out of the park by the Chennai Super Kings, again not renowned to be among the biggest hitters in the competition. They hit 26 of them with a 45 total. These two are more powerful with the bat and probably less potent with the ball, certainly in terms of the Royals at least. That says to me that the over is the way to go here.
WON – Back Over 39.5 boundaries for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with William Hill
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