The second half of the double header in the Indian Premier League on Sunday sees the competition heading back to Ahmedabad as the Punjab Kings will look for successive victories when they take on the Delhi Capitals.
The Capitals have shown they mean business once again after their run to the final last season but you get the impression that the Kings are waiting to launch their tilt at reaching the play-offs so this feels like a big match for both.
The Punjab Kings go into this match off the back of a very good win over the Royal Challengers Bangalore last time out when they put in their best all-round performance of the season. Their batting fired and then their bowlers were used well and delivered the goods against a side who had the potential to get after them so they should have taken plenty of confidence from that outing which they will hope to take into this one.
This match is quite important for the Kings. Not only because they sit just outside the top four and need to be winning to get back in there but because their batting this season has had a good day but followed it up with a bad one each time. They need to be putting a run of form together with the bat that can bring them consistent results. In that regard it might be time for Dawid Malan to come in for Nicholas Pooran who can’t seem to buy a run at present.
The Delhi Capitals are going along quite serenely at the minute. They have five wins and two losses from their opening seven matches so they are once again on track to make the play-offs. Those two defeats were by a run to the Royal Challengers and to the Rajasthan Royals when they were caught cold by a brilliant new ball spell of bowling. In the main though they are competitive in every match and have that winning feeling which can never be underestimated.
There are a couple of issues to solve, the first one being that Kagiso Rabada isn’t in great form so far this season. He has been expensive and not really taken wickets. They have options to replace him but that would be a big call. The other issue is they seem hell bent on picking Steve Smith but all he does is slow the scoring rate down. Again they have options to replace him but need to be willing to make the call.
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We saw Chris Gayle show a liking for that Bangalore attack in the last match but this is a different proposition so it will be interesting to see if the Jamaican can get on top of these bowlers like he did the Bangalore ones. If he can it will push the Punjab Kings closer to victory.
Prithvi Shaw was in awesome form in the previous match, clobbering six boundaries in his first six balls. He was in fantastic domestic form coming into the tournament but seems to lack consistency when playing for the Capitals. If he can go big again here Delhi will be well placed.
These two have already played once in the competition and that was a high scoring match and I expect something similar here. Admittedly one of the reasons why that first clash was high scoring is because it was in Mumbai where the pitch was superb but I’m not convinced it is terrible here and I think the other contributing factor is that neither of these two bowling units are playing with too much in the way of confidence right now.
There are some pretty brutal batsmen on show in this match and they are all starting to round up into form. KL Rahul ended the last game as the leading run scorer in the tournament while the likes of Chris Gayle, Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant and Shimron Hetmyer are coming to the party nicely. Two of the last three first innings scores here have been in the 170 range and that is the area I expect these two teams to reach. I like over 328.5 runs here.
WON – Back Over 328.5 runs for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with Betway