Delhi Daredevils 1.85, Kolkata Knightriders 1.90
The long round of qualifiers is now out of the way and the showpiece stages of the IPL begin later today. The first match between Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders is up first, and promises to be a tight affair.
Both teams are evenly matched in every department, including the betting stakes. This will ultimately come down to a battle between the two best-performing bowlers in the tournament against some destructive batsmen.
The word ‘revelation’ gets overused in sporting parlance but you can certainly apply that term to the Knight Riders’ Sunil Narine right now. The West Indian spinner has added variety and mystery to his game, to such an extent that he has both the best economy rate and the best average of any bowler in this tournament.
Narine doesn’t currently hold the purple cap for most wickets, however; that award currently rests with the Daredevils’ Morne Morkel. Both of these men have been instrumental in getting their sides home in tight finishes and have every chance of making the crucial difference between success and failure in this qualifier.
As far as batting is concerned, few attacks will relish the prospect of taking the new ball against Delhi’s opening pairing of Virender Sehwag and David Warner. Kolkata, meanwhile, have relied heavily on the batting of Gautam Gambhir. While his team mate Brendon McCullum can be as devastating as Warner and Sehwag on his day, the Kiwi has been disappointing by his own high standards.
Head-to-head results don’t help the analysis a great deal, with both teams having picked up a win in the group stages with relatively comfortable run chases. The toss could therefore be instrumental in this result.
The Daredevils just seem to shade it in the batting stakes and that could be enough to see them over the line in this match. Topping the group table could also give Sehwag and his men a psychological edge, so I would take Delhi to win – just!