Richard Mann previews this afternoon's IPL action between Chennai Super Kings and Dehli Daredevils and has found a couple of bets.
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Dehli Daredevils finally came good when earning a huge win against Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday and bid to build on that performance when taking on Chennai Super Kings in Pune on Friday.
IPL2018 has been a frustrating one so far for the Daredevils, a promising young side who seemed set to enjoy a fruitful season having finished the 2017 campaign strongly and installed Ricky Ponting as coach this term.
However, new signing Gautam Gambhir has failed to shine as captain with his batting a long way below his usually high standards and overseas all-rounder Chris Morris is another to have disappointed.
Gambhir took the noble decision to step down as skipper before the defeat of Kolkata, with young star Shreyas Iyer taking over the reins and contributing 93 not out from 40 balls in an impressive win.
He and Rishabh Pant are the future and with Gambhir’s resignation allowing Colin Munro or Jason Roy to return at the top of the order, Dehli have a much more dangerous look about them now.
They still need more from Glenn Maxwell but recent signs from him have been more encouraging and Liam Plunkett’s arrival has provided a wicket-taking threat in the middle overs after Trent Boult has attacked with the new ball.
Chennai returned to the IPL this year with a number of familiar faces in tow and five wins from seven games confirm that it has been business as usual for the boys in yellow.
MS Dhoni has once again been the star of the show with his 235 runs coming at an average 58.75 while new signing Ambati Rayudu has proved a fine buy, his 329 runs firming up a strong top order that also includes the classy Suresh Raina.
It was vintage Dhoni when his bruising 70 not out from only 34 balls saw Chennai chase down 206 against Royal Challengers Bangalore but the bowling remains less potent, despite Dwayne Bravo’s best efforts and the emergence of Deepak Chahar, and they were flogged badly in an eight-wicket defeat at the hands of Mumbai Indians in their last game.
There is a temptation to side with Dehli at odds against – they are certainly capable of causing an upset here – but they have conspired to lose a number of games they really should have won this season and I want to see more evidence that last week’s victory over Kolkata wasn’t a dawn of false hope.
Instead, I’m going to concentrate on the top batsman markets with Colin Munro appealing most for Dehli.
They have a selection dilemma ahead of this game with Jason Roy and Munro competing for the overseas opening slot.
Roy’s talents are well known in England but Munro is a destructive T20 player who hasn’t been seen to best effect in this tournament so far.
He returned to the side with a blistering 33 from only 18 balls against Kolkata and given this is a man renowned for making big scores at the top of the order, it seems fair assume a sizeable contribution is just around the corner.
Munro has amassed 673 T20I runs for New Zealand at an average of 44.86 since the beginning of 2017, including three hundreds, and with this Chennai attack lacking any real mystery, he looks worth siding with at 7/2.
The 10/3 for Raina obliging in the same market for Chennai also makes a fair amount appeal.
Raina and Virat Kohli are the most prolific run-scorers in IPL history and following a steady start to this campaign, the number three found some form when stroking 75 not out from 47 balls against Mumbai.
With the rest of Chennai batting line up facing a big challenge against Dehli leg-spinner Amit Mishra, the left-handed Raina will fancy his chances in that battle and will know that if he can negotiate pacers Boult and Plunkett early on, another big score could be in the offing.
Posted at 1130 BST on 30/04/18