Lucknow Super Giants succumbed to a disappointing loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore in their ninth match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 on Monday.

LSG spinners Ravi Bishnoi, Amit Mishra, Krishnappa Gowtham and Krunal Pandya did well to restrict the visitors to a modest total of 126/9 at the BRSABV Ekana Stadium in Lucknow, but a lukewarm showing with the bat left the Lucknow side 18 runs short.

The defeat saw LSG slip down a place to third in the IPL 2023 points table but they’re still in touching distance with league leaders Gujarat Titans, who have two points more having played one fewer game.

Krunal keeps it tight up top

Asked to field first by RCB, the LSG bowlers kept it tight in the opening few overs, mostly thanks to Krunal Pandya giving away just 14 runs in his first spell of three overs.

However, the decisive opening breakthrough proved elusive, as both the RCB openers - Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis - survived some close calls in the opening three overs. Meanwhile, LSG captain KL Rahul had to leave the field after injuring his right thigh while fielding.

Ravi Bishnoi with the all-important breakthrough

Despite the absence of the skipper on the pitch, the LSG bowlers did well to keep the run rate under control and the pressure eventually paid off as Kohli, trying to accelerate, stepped out to hoist Ravi Bishnoi over long on only to miss the flight of the ball completely.

Nicholas Pooran made no mistakes and dislodged the bells for an easy stumping.

LSG spinners spin a web

Kohli’s departure opened the floodgates as Anuj Rawat and the dangerous Glenn Maxwell also departed without reaching double digits, with Bishnoi accounting for the latter as well.

Amit Mishra then reduced RCB to 90/4 after forcing Suyash Prabhudessai to play one straight to Krishnappa Gowtham, who incidentally picked up Rawat’s wicket, at long off.

After a rain-induced break, Mishra was back at it, this time showing the set du Plessis the way back to the dressing room, with a bit of help from Krunal this time.

After the slow bowlers dominated the middle overs, the LSG pacer Naveen-ul-Haq (three wickets) rattled the RCB tail as the home side ended their innings with 126/9.

A rocky start to LSG’s chase

Chasing 127 to win, LSG lost early wickets and were reduced to 21/3 with the top three - Kyle Mayers, Ayush Badoni and Krunal - departing cheaply.

Missing KL Rahul…

Missing the injured KL Rahul to anchor the innings, LSG continued to lose wickets at regular intervals and failed to string together any productive partnerships.

Marcus Stoinis and Gowtham managed one for the sixth wicket but Karn Sharma removed Stoinis to leave LSG looking down the barrel at 65/6.

Two unfortunate run outs didn’t help LSG’s cause.

Mishra-Naveen’s desperate stand

A resilient 26-run partnership between Mishra and Naveen for the ninth wicket left LSG with 23 to get from the final over.

However Mishra and a struggling KL, who bravely came out to bat for the last wicket despite his leg injury rendering him unable to run, couldn’t pull off a miracle for the home team.

What next for the Super Giants?

LSG will host Chennai Super Kings at the BRSABV Ekana Stadium on Wednesday.

The two teams have only faced off twice in the IPL and each have one head-to-head victory to their name. LSG lost to CSK by 12 runs when they met earlier this season.

Brief Scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 126/9 (Faf du Plessis 44, Virat Kohli 31, Naveen-ul-Haq 3/30, Amit Mishra 2/21, Ravi Bishnoi 2/21) beat Lucknow Super Giants 108/10 (Krishnappa Gowtham 23, Amit Mishra 19, Josh Hazlewood 2/15, Karn Sharma 2/20) by 18 runs.