Not the best combination to face, a superb batting side with appointment to prove it. But that is how the cookie crumbles for LSG and they will have to fight it out to the best of their ability.
New Delhi: For two teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, it all boils down to this – an all-or-nothing contest. Win this, and you stay alive with another shot at the final and the IPL trophy. Lose, and it is all emptiness, with just regrets and wishful thinking as you head back home, with nothing to show for after the long journey through the league. Lucknow Super Giants (LSG), who won by the barest of margins to make their way into the IPL 2023 Eliminator and Mumbai Indians (MI), who had to wait till the very last over of the league to know their fate, do not have the luxury to soak in the success. The elimination battle has come, just too soon.
LSG were in a titanic battle with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), winning by just one run as they managed to stave off some late-order mayhem by Rinku Singh to survive. While they would be ecstatic with that, it also means that their bowling would be facing another fearful challenge in the MI batting.
As for the Mumbai side, they duly beat SunRisers Hyderabad with another sensational batting display, but then sat and watched the match between Gujarat Titans (GT) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and were ecstatic when Shubman Gill destroyed RCB, paving the way for MI to make it to the top four.
As they say, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, so neither team would be complaining about how they got where they are now. Also, there is no time to celebrate.
Chennai will see LSG trying to get stop the MI batting powerhouse. From Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, Cameron Green and Suryakumar Yadav to Tim David and Nehal Wadhera, the list is almost endless. It is such a line-up that scoring 200 or well beyond also does not ensure a win against MI, as many sides have discovered.
LSG’s best chance would be to get through that daunting line-up and restrict them. Their bowlers will have to find something extra. Ravi Bishnoi, LSG’s best bet, will need support from all concerned including skipper Krunal Pandya and the seam department led by Naveen-ul-Haq.
If they do manage to restrict the batters, then their batting boasting power-hitters like Quinton de Kock, Marcus Stoinis and Nicholas Pooran, with a lot of help from the rest, can surely take on the MI bowling which is their weaker suit.
Akash Madhwal has really earned his stripes in the MI bowling while Jason Behrendorff has done well. Green can be up and down but Chris Jordan has been quite a disappointment.
The spin department is solid in the hands of Piyush Chawla, but MI’s reliance on seam may well have to be revisited in Chennai.
But with a batting like they have, MI are not particularly bothered with their bowling. That could well be their Achilles heel – even the best batting can fail sometimes, as MI too have experienced through the league.
Nevertheless, MI are the kind of side which comes good when it matters most and last year’s disappointment will surely be something they will like to atone for.
Not the best combination to face, a superb batting side with the appointment to prove it. But that is how the cookie crumbles for LSG and they will have to fight it out to the best of their ability.