Sunrisers batters gear up for Lucknow spin test

Hyderabad: Lucknow Super Giants will be itching to get back to winning ways against a buoyant Sunrisers Hyderabad with young wrist spinner Ravi Bishnoi holding the key in a must-win IPL game here on Saturday.

LSG, having lost two of their last three matches, will take a huge step forward if they happen to get past Aiden Markram’s team, which is languishing in ninth place in the 10-team table.

The Krunal Pandya-led team is currently fifth with 11 points and is very much there in the play-off mix

However, on an Uppal track that has produced middling team totals, the role of spinners will be paramount, and that’s where Bishnoi, veteran ‘Impact Sub’ Amit Mishra and skipper Krunal himself come into the picture.

The spin troika will have its task cut out against a Hyderabad line-up whose batting will be dependant on their three overseas recruits — Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen and Glenn Phillips.

Phillips is a new entrant into the playing XI after Rs 13.25 crore buy Harry Brook’s underwhelming returns of 163 runs in first nine games.

With his fast googlies Bishnoi, the team’s best bowler with 12 wickets, could trouble the overseas trio while Mishra’s guile and Krunal’s steady wicket-to-wicket bowling could be key against the ‘Orange Army’.

In Hyderabad, the track is a bit on the slower side and the spinners, who bowl at a higher speed, will certainly have an advantage over others.

If one compares man to man, LSG’s spinners are better placed since SRH already are hamstrung by Washington Sundar’s pull out from the tournament. The only spinner doing well for them consistently is Mayank Markande, who has 11 wickets from eight games at an economy rate of 7.31.

Hyderabad, which looked a good team on paper, have suffered on many counts but primarily due to the loss of form of two premier Indian batters Mayank Agarwal (9 matches 187 runs) and Rahul Tripathi (10 matches, 237 runs). Their poor strike-rates of 114.02 and 127.41 tell the whole story.

In fact, except Klaasen (185.34), the only other top-order batter with a 150 plus strike-rate is southpaw opener Abhishek Sharma (152.63).

As far as LSG’s batting is concerned, regular skipper KL Rahul’s injury has proved to be a blessing in disguise with both Quinton de Kock and Kyle Mayers attacking from the word go.

However, down the order Marcus Stoinis (239 at strike-rate of 139) and Nicholas Pooran (248 at 160), despite having the odd good knocks under their belt, need to do more.

Ayush Badoni (212 at 147 SR) has also been very effective, but it is the slow tracks of Lucknow that has been an impediment to the team’s success with the bat.

The away match will certainly provide the team with an opportunity to make optimum utilisation of their batting firepower, but they will also have the canny seam duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and T Natarajan to contend with.

Teams (from): Sunrisers Hyderabad: Aiden Markram (c), Abdul Samad, Rahul Tripathi, Glenn Phillips, Abhishek Sharma, Marco Jansen, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Kartik Tyagi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T. Natarajan, Umran Malik, Harry Brook, Mayank Agarwal, Heinrich Klaasen, Adil Rashid, Mayank Markande, Vivrant Sharma, Samarth Vyas, Sanvir Singh, Upendra Yadav, Mayank Dagar, Nitish Kumar Reddy, Akeal Hosein and Anmolpreet Singh.

Lucknow Super Giants: Krunal Pandya (captain), Kyle Mayers, Deepak Hooda, 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, Marcus Stoinis, Ravi Bishnoi, Karun Nair and Mayank Yadav.

Match starts 3:30 pm IST.