Kohli to set tone for Bangalore against Pietersen-less Delhi

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No cricket field is big enough to hold the egos of both Kevin Pietersen and Virat Kohli, so it’s just as well the ECB’s scapegoat is injured ahead of the Delhi Daredevils’ clash with Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.

Dinesh Karthik will lead Delhi, who are the 11/8 outsiders for victory, in Pietersen’s absence and faces a tough task avoiding an opening loss.

2013 saw Delhi string six losses together at the tournament’s outset with the franchise inevitably claiming the wooden spoon that year.

Faced with a batting line-up bristling with the muscles of Kohli, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Yuvraj Singh, the Daredevils will do well to prevent another first-game defeat.

Kohli and Gayle will open the innings for RCB, who are 4/7 shots for victory, and should form a destructive partnership. It’s 5/6 that their first knock together collects more than 21.5 runs.

Fresh from collecting the Player of the Tournament gong at the World T20, Kohli is the undisputed batsman of the moment.

He scored four fifties in six knocks in Sri Lanka and is 2/1 to rack up another half century at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

Faced with promising, yet wayward bowlers like Mohamed Shami and Nathan Coulter-Nile – both of whom have a T20 economy rate over six – that bet has a real chance of landing, although for the more conservative the 5/6 about him scoring more than 27.5 runs is the option to take.

With Pietersen missing Delhi’s batting impetus will fall to fellow opener Murali Vijay, recruited from Chennai Super Kings in the offseason and a consistent T20 performer having scored 312 runs in IPL 2013.

Vijay’s batting line is very generous at 18.5 and fans of the Daredevils should certainly lump on him going over that tally at 5/6.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.