LSG, RR face off in blockbuster clash


PTI, Apr 9, 2022, 2:05 PM IST

Mumbai: If their performance is any indication, Lucknow Super Giants and Rajasthan Royals could make for a blockbuster Indian Premier League contest on a Sunday evening, an iconic venue adding to its charm.

IPL debutants Lucknow Super Giants got off to an excellent start in their first season and are placed third in the points table, having won three of their four matches.

KL Rahul’s team lost its opening game narrowly to fellow first-timers Gujarat Titans, but have since recorded comprehensive wins over defending champions Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad and a very formidable Delhi Capitals outfit.

While Rahul has led the side admirably in the matches played so far in the 15th edition of the lucrative league, the likes of Evin Lewis, Deepak Hooda and young Ayush Badoni shining with the bat has lent great balance and stability to the team.

As far as bowling is concerned, the pace-spin duo of Avesh Khan and Ravi Bishnoi have managed to hold their own against some of the most established names of T20 cricket.

Having quickly overcome the opening loss to Titans, LSG were further bolstered by the addition of West Indian all-rounder Jason Holder to the side, adding more depth in both bowling and batting.

Coming off a six-wicket win over the Capitals, LSG will take a lot of confidence from that into their next outing at the Wankhede Stadium.

In slaying DC, seasoned opener Quinton de Kock displayed imperious form with a 52-ball 80, even as the likes of Badoni and Krunal Pandya chipped in with cameos to seal the game for LSG.

Krishnappa Gowtham’s economical spell against DC’s formidable batting line-up has done his confidence a world of good as the off-spinner approaches the game against Rajasthan Royals.

Rahul got out after getting a start and he would certainly look to make amends on Sunday.

However, it is easier said than done when up against a side like RR, which has emerged as one of the stronger teams in the competition so far, notwithstanding the loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore in its last outing.

Before the reverse against RCB, RR won two matches, beating Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians by 61 runs and 23 runs respectively.

Arguably one of the best batters in the shortest format, Jos Buttler is going great guns, following up his blazing hundred with a 47-ball 70 against RCB.

Buttler in form is a huge positive for RR, who can also look up to Devdutt Padikkal and Shimron Hetmyer for quick runs. And then there is also skipper Sanju Samson, who can tear apart any bowling attack once he settles down in the middle.

Pacer Navdeep Saini has leaked runs in the last couple of matches and it remains to be seen if Riyan Parag, who has not contributed with the ball, continues to bat at number six.

Playing with three overseas players in Buttler, Hetmyer and Trent Boult, fourth-placed RR have the option of drafting in an all-rounder like Jimmy Neesham to lend more balance to their XI.

Teams (from):

Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (captain/wicketkeeper), Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shimron Hetmyer, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Prasidh Krishna, Riyan Parag, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Devdutt Padikkal, Navdeep Saini, Karun Nair, Rassie van der Dussen, James Neesham, Anunay Singh, Daryl Mitchell, Dhruv Jurel, Shubham Garhwal, Kuldip Yadav, Kuldeep Sen, Obed McCoy, Tejas Baroka, KC Cariappa.

Lucknow Super Giants: KL Rahul (captain & wk), Quinton de Kock (wk), Manish Pandey, Deepak Hooda, Krunal Pandya, Evin Lewis, Marcus Stoinis, Jason Holder, Andrew Tye, Kyle Mayers, Avesh Khan, Dushmantha Chameera, Ravi Bishnoi, Ayush Badoni, Manan Vohra, Krishnappa Gowtham, Shahbaz Nadeem, Ankit Rajpoot, Mayank Yadav, Mohsin Khan, Karan Sharma.

Match starts at 7.30 PM IST.

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