Krunal Pandya’s all-round show, KL Rahul’s return among the runs and Amit Mishra’s perfect debut for the franchise made it a night to remember for Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) at the BRSABV Ekana Cricket Stadium on Friday.
The crushing win against Sunrisers Hyderabad helped LSG to the top of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 points table. The win was especially sweet, considering the defeat in the previous match against CSK by 12 runs in Chennai.
Despite having the home advantage this time, LSG were dealt a blow before the match after Purple Cap holder Mark Wood had to sit out due to illness. Pacer Avesh Khan also made way for an extra spinner on a low and slow Lucknow surface.
Spinners Krunal Pandya (3/18), Amit Mishra (2/23) and Ravi Bishnoi (1/16) proved the selectors right and helped LSG restrict the 2016 champions to a modest 121/8.
Skipper KL Rahul (35 off 31) and Pandya (34 off 23) then stitched a 55-run stand for the third wicket to take LSG closer to the target after opener Kyle Mayers (13 off 14) and Deepak Hooda (7 off 8) were dismissed early.
Three wickets in quick succession after LSG crossed 100 marginally slowed down the run chase, but Marcus Stoinis (10 off 13) and Nicholas Pooran (11 off 6) made sure we crossed the finish line with five wickets and four overs to spare.
Krunal Pandya’s super spell
It won’t be an exaggeration to say LSG bowlers did not miss a beat on Friday. After SRH openers Mayank Agarwal (8 off 7) and Anmolpreet Singh (31 off 26) survived the first two overs of pace, left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya was introduced in the third over of the powerplay and the move paid off instantly.
Pandya’s flighted delivery outside off on the fifth ball forced Agarwal into the half-hearted shot which was caught at cover.
Anmolpreet Singh and Rahul Tripathi (34 off 41) tried to lay a platform with a 29-run partnership on the tacky surface but Krunal Pandya broke the stand in the eighth over by trapping Anmolpreet Singh in front of the wicket.
Much was made of the return of Sunrisers’ captain Aiden Markram back into the opposition camp. He too was sent back by Pandya after being cleaned up on the very first delivery.
Spinner Amit Mishra, on his LSG debut, took the wickets of a set Washington Sundar and Adil Rashid. Ever-consistent Ravi Bishnoi also bowled impressive lines and lengths and got rid of a dangerous Harry Brook.
Only 13 boundaries (10x4s and 3x6s) were hit during the SRH innings, speaking volumes of the Super Giants’ stranglehold on the match.
Abdul Samad’s 21 off 10 at the death put some respectability to SRH total but 121 was never going to be enough with the likes of KL Rahul, Kyle Mayers and Nicholas Pooran in the opposition line-up.
What next for the Super Giants?
The KL Rahul-led side will travel to M Chinnaswamy Stadium to take on Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday. RCB beat LSG twice last season but the current IPL 2023 table-toppers, have the tools to counter the likes of Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis.
RCB, meanwhile, will come into the contest having lost to Kolkata Knight Riders by 81 runs at Eden Gardens and will be hungry to prove a point at home.
Brief Scores: Lucknow Super Giants 127/5 (KL Rahul 35, Krunal Pandya 34, Adil Rashid 2-23) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 121/8 (Rahul Tripathi 34, Anmolpreet Singh 31, Krunal Pandya 3-18, Amit Mishra 2-23) by five wickets.