The math is simple. A win for Lucknow Super Giants over two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders would be enough to seal a place in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 playoffs. A loss and it would leave them at the mercy of others for a top-four finish.
The match will be played at the historical Eden Gardens Stadium in Kolkata, with LSG donning the iconic Mohun Bagan jersey for the evening fixture that will start at 7:30 PM IST.
Super Giants come into the contest after pulling off terrific back-to-back wins. The team was down and out chasing 183 for a win against Sunrisers Hyderabad on May 13 but Marcus Stoinis, Nicholas Pooran and Prerak Mankad’s stellar knocks helped LSG Brigade pull off a heist.
The team found themselves on the back foot against Mumbai Indians on May 16 as well. This time, it was the turn of the bowlers to put their hands up and deliver. Skipper Krunal Pandya showed his class and leadership with bat and ball while Stoinis, Ravi Bishnoi and Mohsin Khan proved to be the stars of the night.
LSG are currently third on the IPL 2023 table with 15 points. KKR’s playoff hopes, meanwhile, hang by a thread that will be broken if they lose in front of their home fans on Saturday.
Super Giants to watch out for
Krunal Pandya is new to captaincy but rotated his bowlers to perfection against MI in the last game. He will look to pull off another strategic masterstroke against the two-time champions at Eden Gardens.
Marcus Stoinis, meanwhile, has carried LSG on his muscular shoulders in IPL 2023. The Aussie all-rounder has delivered the goods whenever LSG found themselves in a spot of bother.
Bishnoi will continue to lead the spin department while QDK, Mayers, Badoni, and Pooran will be our other key men on the field against the Knights.
A peek into Knights’ camp
The Knight Riders have been mercurial in IPL 2023. The team has won matches from impossible situations.
The likes of in-form batters like QDK and Badoni in the LSG side will want to make the most of the bowling inconsistency.
KKR’s strengths, however, lie in their mystery spinners Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy. Venkatesh Iyer, KKR skipper Nitish Rana, Andre Russell and a dangerous Rinku Singh will be their go-to men in the batting department.
KKR vs LSG: Head-to-head
LSG and KKR have clashed twice in the history of IPL. Both those matches came in IPL 2022. The first match was a stroll for LSG who bundled out KKR for 101 after putting on 176/7 on board. QDK (50) and Avesh Khan (3/19) led from the front.
The second contest was a much closer affair. QDK and KL Rahul put on IPL’s highest-ever opening partnership as LSG piled on 210/0 in 20 overs.
LSG survived the scare and won the match by two runs. Interestingly, KKR were eliminated after that loss and LSG qualified for the playoffs. Will history repeat itself on Saturday? Only time will tell, but the Lucknow boys seem up for the challenge.
Kolkata Knight Riders vs Lucknow Super Giants, Match 68
Venue: Eden Gardens Stadium, Kolkata
Time: 7.30 PM IST