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Monday, 15 October, 2018

Rahane set to lead Pune's challenge

Injury-hit Bangalore vulnerable to Daredevils

Pune's Ajinkya Rahane in action for India
1 of 1

Kings XI Punjab v Pune
Sky Sports 2, 11.30am Saturday
Bangalore v Delhi
Sky Sports 3, 3.30pm Saturday

The Indian Premier League is back and fans of explosive batting have already been treated to some spectacular fare.

High scores have been the order of the day in the competition's three games so far with five scores over 180 and a whopping 48 sixes in that time.

One of those sides to excel with the bat were Rising Pune Supergiants who chased down 184 with just a single ball to spare against Mumbai Indians on Thursday and they are 8-11 to maintain a perfect start to their campaign against Kings XI Punjab.

Australia captain Steve Smith was the star turn in their opening win, hitting a match-winning 84 off of just 54 balls.

The Aussie was ably supported by Indian Ajinkya Rahane - 60 off 34 - who appears to be coming to the boil at just the right time.

After a spell of indifferent form, Rahane warmed up for the IPL with two confident innings (46 & 38 not out) in India's fourth Test victory over Australia and showcased all his inventiveness and poise against Mumbai.

At 11-4 he could represent some decent business to lead Pune's charge in Indore.

Injuries have decimated the squads of both Bangalore and Delhi in the lead-up to the tournament with both sides sweating on the fitness on a number of star names.

Favourites Bangalore are perhaps the most affected with the loss of talismanic duo Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers to injury and while the Daredevils have lost South African batsmen Quinton de Kock and Jean-Paul Duminy for the whole tournament, their bowling attack has largely remain unscathed.

Pace bowling is the Daredevil's undoubted with strength with rising South Africa star Kagiso Rabada, Mohammed Shami and Aussie quick Pat Cummins all vying for favouritism in the top Delhi bowler market.

That firepower may give them the slight edge on Saturday and at the prices, they are worth chancing to get their campaign off to a winning start.

Recommendations
A Rahane top Pune runscorer
2pts 11-4 Ladbrokes
Delhi Daredevils
1pt 11-8 Ladbrokes

Bangalore are perhaps the most affected with the loss of talismanic duo Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers to injury
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