KL Rahul and Deepak Hooda scored a half-century each to help us to a competitive total of 196/5 at the Ekana Stadium on a Saturday but Rajasthan Royals chased it down with seven wickets in hand.

Our bowlers fought hard and kept us in the fight till the 13th over. However, a 121-run unbeaten stand from Sanju Samson and Dhruv Jurel ended the game in the penultimate over.

Despite the loss, we stay fourth on the IPL 2024 points table with five wins and four defeats. Our playoff chances are still very much alive!

KL Rahul and Deepak Hooda lead fightback

Told pehle aap after the toss, we lost Quinton de Kock and Marcus Stoinis early and were reeling at 11/2 after two overs. 

But when the going got tough, the tough got going! Kaptaan KL Rahul and resurgent Deepak Hooda joined forces to script a crucial turnaround with their century stand.

After cautiously navigating through a tricky phase, Rahul unleashed his attacking strokes in the eighth over, taking on Avesh Khan with two KLassical sixes and a boundary, infusing a surge of momentum into our innings. 

KL also crossed the 4000-run mark as an opener in the IPL during his innings. By doing so, he also became the fastest to achieve this milestone in his 94th IPL match.

The recovery did not rest solely on Rahul's shoulders as Deepak Hooda, who finally found form, hammered a blistering 50 off just 31 deliveries. However, amidst the flurry of boundaries and milestones, Hooda was dismissed in the 13th over but not before stitching together a 115-run stand for the third wicket in just 62 balls. 

Nicholas Pooran was out cheaply in the 16th over and KL Rahul, who dazzled with his elegant strokeplay en route to his captivating 76 off 48 balls, was also sent back on the second ball of the 18th over. Ayush Badoni and Krunal Pandya tried to finish off with a flourish but the final three overs yielded just 25 runs.

Quick wickets bring us back into contest

With Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler scoring at over 10 runs per over in the powerplay, defending 196 seemed like an uphill task.

However, Yash Thakur broke the partnership in the sixth over, cleaning out Buttler. Marcus Stoinis and our impact man Amit Mishra followed it up, sending back Jaiswal and Riyan Parag in the following overs.

From 60/0 inside six overs, the Royals were reduced to 78/3 in the ninth over and we had our tails up.

Sanju Samson and Dhruv Jurel were kept quiet at the start of their innings. We were well in the hunt as the Royals needed 82 runs from seven overs but the Sanju Samson-Dhruv Jurel pair grew into the game and took the match away from us by scoring fluent half-centuries. 

Although today's outcome was not in our favor, trust us to regroup quickly and emerge even stronger.

What next for the Super Giants?

We will stay in Lucknow and brace for Mumbai Indians at our beloved BRSABV Ekana Cricket Stadium. The evening fixture will be played on April 30.

Brief Scores: Lucknow Super Giants 196/5 in 20 overs (KL Rahul 76;  Sandeep Sharma 2/31) lost to Rajasthan Royals 199/3 in 19 overs (Sanju Samson 71*, Marcus Stoinis 1/3 in one over) by seven wickets.