Match 15 IPL 2017 (2017-04-15) @ Delhi (FSK)
Delhi and Punjab are 3-3 in matches between these sides in the last 3 years. Delhi are currently the higher rated team with 92 Cricsq points compared to Punjab's 81 points.
Punjab started the season well with two home wins at their temporary home in Indore. Both were won by good bowling by their mainly Indian attack and good chasing by Maxwell and the overseas stars in the team.
The one time they had to set a total against KKR they failed to defend the 170 they scored. The batting is definitely the strongest component of the side.
Against the run of play of the IPL this season Delhi won when they batted first and failed to win chasing. The reason for this could be that they are one of the few sides whose bowling is stronger than their bowling.
Delhi have a ridiculous number of overseas fast bowlers in their squad with Morris, Brathwaite, Rabada and Cummings all available to them. They lost de Koch before the season started. Billings has replaced him at the top of the order. Anderson played in the second game to give balance to the side.
In the last 3 seasons 71% of chasing teams have won here. A large reason for this could be de Koch's skill in the run chase for Delhi and their weaker bowling attack. Things are different with their squad this year with young Indian batsmen and skilled overseas bowlers.
I have backed Delhi to win this match. I think their strong bowling will counter the KXIP batting strength.
Delhi have played 2 matches so far. In the first the batsmen failed to chase down 157. In the second they set RPS and total of 205.
Sam Billings has replaced de Koch at the top of the order. He has scored 25 and 24 in quick time. Delhi need him to kick on and start scoring big runs. His opening partner Tare has scored 0 and 18.
Pant is in form with 57 in the first match and 30 in the second. Samson got 102 off 63 against RPS. If these two can continue to perform, Delhi will not miss Duminy this season. It also frees up space for more overseas players in the bowling department.
Corey Anderson played against RPS instead of Brathwaite. He scored 2 from 4 balls whilst Chris Morris was blitzing 38 from 9 balls at the other end. Brathwaite is a poor player of spin bowling so Anderson should be given another chance in the all-rounder role. They also have the all-rounder Angelo Mathews in the squad.
After Samson and Pant set the base against RPS Morris was brilliant. Morris scored 4 from 5 in the run chase against RCB but with the pressure off setting a total his striking was sensational.
For Delhi to succeed they need the Indian players to keep performing and the openers to come to the party. If they can set any kind of a total they have the bowlers to defend it.
The Delhi attack restricted RCB to 157 at Bangalore and then bowled RPS out for 108 at Pune.
Chris Morris and Zaheer Khan have taken 9 wickets between them. They have been joined in the pace attack by Pat Cummings who has 3 wickets and gone for only 7.5 an over. In the pace department they also have Rabada and Hilfenhaus available.
The Indian spinners Mishra and Nadeem have been good. Nadeem took 1 for 13 in 4 overs against RCB and 1 for 23 in 4 overs against Pune. Mishra was expensive against RCB but back to form taking 3 for 11 against Pune.
The options for an all-rounder roll are Mathews, Brathwaite and Anderson. I prefer Anderson for his stronger batting.
Punjab's batting is very strong on paper. Eoin Morgan cannot get into the side. They easily chased totals of 163 and 148 at Indore. They came unstuck setting a total against KKR. They started well but things slowed down after the powerplay.
Amla and Vohra have opened for them. In both the first and third match Amla got off to a flying start and then slowed down. This put a lot of pressure on the other batsmen.
Maxwell is in great touch. He has scored 112 runs at a rate of 200 runs per 100 balls. Amla is their second top scorer on 111.
Miller has only batted twice seeing the team home with 30 not out against RPS and scoring a useful 28 from 19 balls against KKR. Punjab will hope he can follow his South African form and go on and make some big scores through the season.
Maxwell has rotated the batting line-up promoting Axar Patel in the first two games and Stoinis in the last match. Saha has batted at 3 and at 6. It is possible he is overcomplicating things. The batting line-up is strong enough without having to get sophisticated with the tactics.
The Punjab attack consists of domestic bowlers with contributions from Stoinis and Maxwell.
Sandeep Sharma has been good in all 3 matches. He has taken 3 wickets with an economy rate of 7.9. His support in the seam bowling department has come from Aaron, Stoinis, Mohit Sharma, Natarajan, and Ishant Sharma. Aaron is the pick of them taking 3 wickets with an economy rate of 7.33.
Mohit Sharma has been expensive going at over 10 an over. Natarajan played the first match and went for 9.8 an over. His left arm pace may be worth another chance. Ishant Sharma was disappointing on his return against KKR going for 16 off 2 overs.
Axar Patel is the main spinner. He has taken 3 wickets with an economy rate of 6.25. Swapnil Singh has bowled just 2 overs 1 for 14 runs. Maxwell bowled just the 1 over for 18 against KKR.
Playing an all Indian attack is likely to get found out at points through the season as it was against KKR. The problem is that Punjab have few options in their squad. They have the option of Matt Henry but playing him as an overseas player would mean changing the batting.
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