Inconsistent LSG faces RR test in IPL

Jaipur: Blowing hot and cold, Lucknow Super Giants will look to tick all the boxes and return to winning ways when they clash with table-toppers Rajasthan Royals in an IPL match here on Wednesday.

With three wins and two losses so far, LSG is a team overflowing with talent but they have missed a trick or two at times to find themselves on the losing side twice.

In the last match against the Punjab Kings, Lucknow couldn’t get enough runs in the middle overs, leaving them 10-15 runs short in the end.

While KL Rahul returning to form with a sizzling 56-ball 74 is a big positive, LSG will rue the scoring opportunities they squandered in the middle overs.

Lucknow have no dearth of power in their batting, with Kyle Mayers at the top and Nicholas Pooran and Marcus Stoinis in the middle capable of pulverising any opposition.

While Mayers did his job in the powerplay, he, perhaps, needs to think about building partnerships after the first six overs, especially with Deepak Hooda struggling to get runs at the top.

Against PBKS, LSG also committed the mistake of bringing in the talented Ravi Bishnoi too late, allowing the batters to take the chase deep into the final over.

Bishnoi is a wily customer with a mean googly, and skipper Rahul may think of using him in the middle as well, instead of holding him back for the death overs.

Krishnappa Gowtham and Krunal Pandya too have done well in their respective roles.

Among the fast bowlers, LSG possess the fiery pace of Mark Wood and Avesh Khan. Yudhvir Singh Charak too will look to carry on his good run after a sensational two-wicket haul on debut against Punjab.

However, for Lucknow, it will be an uphill task to disturb the applecart of the Royals, who have performed like a well-oiled machine with a hat-trick of wins to grab the top spot in the IPL standings.

RR possess a formidable batting line-up with the likes of Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson ensuring that the side has a good start and has enough runs in the powerplay.

While Buttler, with 204 runs has been their highest run-scorer, Jaiswal has struck at 149.45 during his 136 runs so far in the IPL.

And, when the duo failed the other day against GT, skipper Samson rose to the occasion, bailing out the team with a 32-ball 60 as West Indian Shimron Hetmyer completed the job with a 26-ball 56.

Devdutt Padikkal too has come up with cameos but Riyan Parag hasn’t been able to grab the opportunities.

RR also has some quality spinners, with the trio of Yuzvendra Chahal, Adam Zampa and Ravichandran Ashwin making life difficult for the opposition.

It was the spinners who had won them the match against Chennai Super Kings, while pace spearhead Trent Boult did the job against Delhi Capital by taking those two wickets in the first over to derail their chase.

Medium pacer Sandeep Sharma too has used all his experience, taking wickets regularly during his spells.

Squad (from): Lucknow Super Giants: KL Rahul (c and wk), Kyle Mayers, Deepak Hooda, Krunal Pandya, Amit Mishra, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Naveen ul Haq, Ayush Badoni, Avesh Khan, Karan Sharma, Yudhvir Charak, Yash Thakur, Romario Shepherd, Mark Wood, Swapnil Singh, Manan Vohra, Daniel Sams, Prerak Mankad, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jaydev Unadkat, Marcus Stoinis, Ravi Bishnoi, Mayank Yadav.

Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (c), Abdul Basith, Murugan Ashwin, Ravichandran Ashwin, KM Asif, Trent Boult, Jos Buttler, KC Cariappa, Yuzvendra Chahal, Donovan Ferreira, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Dhruv Jurel, Obed McCoy, Devdutt Padikkal, Riyan Parag, Kunal Singh Rathore, Joe Root, Navdeep Saini, Sandeep Sharma, Kuldeep Sen, Akash Vasisht, Kuldip Yadav, Adam Zampa.

Match time: 7:30 PM IST.