A KL Rahul classic at the top and a tight bowling performance by Lucknow Super Giants almost drove the team home in reply to Gujarat Titans’ 135/6. However, credit where credit is due, the defending champions bowled brilliantly at the death to win by seven runs at BRSABV Ekana Cricket Stadium on Saturday.
The loss kept LSG stationed in second place on the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 points table with eight points. LSG’s campaign so far includes four wins and this stinging loss against GT was the team’s third loss this season.
KL Rahul’s fluent 68 off 61 ensured LSG did not lose their way chasing a modest target till the 14th over and with 31 required off 36 with nine wickets in hand, it all seemed done and dusted.
The damage, however, was done late by GT bowlers. Noor Ahmad (2/18) put on the leash on the run rate with wickets of a set Krunal Pandya on a run-a-ball 23 and a dangerous Nicholas Pooran. The match was still in balance with 12 runs needed off the last over bowled by Mohit Sharma. The two run-outs and KL Rahul and Marcus Stonis being caught in the deep put the breaks on LSG at 128/7 in 20 overs.
KL Rahul gets to 7000 T20 runs in style
Not losing wickets in the powerplay was the key for LSG on a slow and deceiving pitch at BRSABV Ekana Cricket Stadium. KL Rahul and Kyle Mayers (24 off 19) ensured that the mini milestone was achieved but did that at a brisk pace as well. The duo put on 53/0 in the first six overs to set the tempo for the chase.
KL Rahul, meanwhile, also became the fastest Indian to reach the landmark of scoring 7000 runs in T20 cricket!
Kyle Mayers departed in the seventh over but Krunal Pandya’s short but effective stay in the middle placed Super Giants closer to the target.
The rest of the team could not paint the run chase with finishing touches but as always, LSG will be back stronger next time.
Krunal keeps the Titans quiet
Asked to bowl first on a slow wicket, LSG tightened the screws on the defending champions from the start. Lucknow’s Mr. Consistent Krunal Pandya bowled two overs in the powerplay and got rid of dangerous Shubman Gill upfront. Wriddhiman Saha and Hardik Pandya steadied the ship with a decent partnership but LSG restricted Titans to 40/1 in the powerplay - their lowest powerplay score this season.
Naveen Ul Haq’s first IPL wicket
LSG’s Afghan pacer Naveen Ul Haq bowled brilliantly against Rajasthan Royals in the last game, giving away just 19 runs, but was unfortunate not to pick up a wicket on his debut.
Against GT, Naveen sent an in-form Vijay Shankar packing in the 15th over for his first IPL scalp and ended up with the figures of 1/19 in his four overs. The 23-year-old seamer teamed up with Marcus Stoinis (2/20 in 3 overs) in the death and varied his pace brilliantly to help LSG keep the Titans at a manageable score of 135/6.
What next for the Super Giants?
After a five-day break, LSG will fly to Mohali to play Punjab Kings on April 28, Friday.
The two teams locked horns earlier in the tournament with Punjab Kings scraping to victory in the last over with two balls to spare. KL Rahul’s 74, Ravi Bishnoi’s 2/18 and Yudhvir Singh’s 2/19 were the top performances by LSG players on the day. The Kings, with three wins and three losses, are locked in the mid-table jam on the IPL 2023 table with six points.
Brief Scores: Gujarat Titans 135/6 (Hardik Pandya 66, Wriddhiman Saha 47, Krunal Pandya 2/16, Stoinis 2/20) beat Lucknow Super Giants 128/7 (KL Rahul 68, Noor Ahmad 2/18, Mohit Sharma 2/17) by seven runs.