International Cricket

Match Preview – LSG vs PBKS 11th Match, IPL

Match details

Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) vs Punjab Kings (PBKS)
Lucknow, 1930 IST (1400 GMT)

Big picture – Welcome home, Lucknow Super Giants

The last time these two teams met, there were relentless fireworks in Mohali, where LSG first racked up 257, the second-highest IPL total then, followed by Kings’ 201.

The two teams now meet in Lucknow, a venue of low bounce and low totals last year, when conditions changed depending on the colour of the soil, with the home team preferring black to red for most games. A red-soil pitch is expected on Saturday, which could mean more bounce and pace for the quicks and not much of a party for the spinners. If that’s how the action unfolds, there’s likely to be pressure on LSG’s pace unit because, on paper, their trio of Mohsin Khan, Naveen-ul-Haq and Yash Thakur (they aren’t considering Shamar Joseph yet) pales in comparison to Kings’ more all-round attack of Kagiso Rabada, Sam Curran, Arshdeep Singh and Harshal Patel.

How can LSG make up? With their high-voltage batting that boasts of Quinton de Kock, KL Rahul, Marcus Stoinis, Nicholas Pooran, Kyle Mayers and Ayush Badoni. Kings aren’t behind at all with the batting firepower in their ranks, but Jonny Bairstow is yet to score for them the way he did for Sunrisers Hyderabad (he missed IPL 2023 with injury), and the big names of Shikhar Dhawan and Liam Livingstone along with the hard-hitting Prabhsimran Singh need to ensure that they emerge as one of the quickest-scoring teams, unlike last year when their collective strike rate of 143.80 was sixth overall.

LSG are currently placed bottom of the table after just one game, while Kings have won out out of two, and the comforting factor LSG will bank on is home advantage this IPL – home teams have won each of the first nine games of the tournament.

LSG’s new head coach Justin Langer said he was happy to get his team’s opening game out of the way, “get a bit of rust out”, and is eager to cash in on home-ground advantage.

Team news – No Shamar Joseph yet, Kings likely unchanged

LSG’s pace stocks aren’t a match for Kings’ on paper, but they will wait a little longer to unleash Shamar Joseph onto this league, Langer confirmed on the eve of the match. “I love his spirit and athleticism but he’s still very young,” Langer said of Joseph. “He’s pushing hard for selection but I don’t think he’ll play tomorrow though.” Langer further said LSG have traditionally played three overseas batters and one foreign bowler which has brought them success, but they will decide a final XI on Saturday.

Kings went unchanged for their second game and are likely to continue that, unless there is a niggle.

Impact Player strategy

Lucknow Super Giants

After bowling first in their first game, LSG had substituted specialist bowler Yash Thakur with spin-bowling allrounder Deepak Hooda in the chase. If the pitch on Saturday aids spin more than pace, they could use Hooda through the game and use a specialist batter, such as Ayush Badoni or Padikkal, in the impact role.

Probable XII: 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 KL Rahul (capt), 3 Devdutt Padikkal, 4 Ayush Badoni, 5 Deepak Hooda, 6 Nicholas Pooran, 7 Marcus Stoinis, 8 Krunal Pandya, 9 Ravi Bishnoi, 10 Mohsin Khan, 11 Naveen-ul-Haq, 12 Yash Thakur/Shivam Mavi

Punjab Kings

In both games so far, Kings have used Prabhsimran Singh and Arshdeep Singh as their impact subs depending on the toss result, and that is likely to continue.

Probable XII: 1 Shikhar Dhawan (capt), 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Prabhsimran Singh, 4 Liam Livingstone, 5 Sam Curran, 6 Jitesh Sharma (wk), 7 Shashank Singh, 8 Harpreet Brar, 9 Harshal Patel, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Rahul Chahar, 12 Arshdeep Singh

Stats that matter –

  • KL Rahul vs Kagiso Rabada could be an exciting contest – the LSG captain has scored 50 runs off 36 balls from Rabada’s in the IPL while being dismissed three times.
  • Padikkal facing Arshdeep Singh could be similar, because the batter has scored 49 off 31 against the let-arm quick in the IPL while being sent back three times.
  • Pooran batted at No. 6 in LSG’s first game and he’ll try to bat deep to face Harshal Patel in the death. Pooran has smashed 25 runs off 10 balls against Harshal without falling even once in the IPL.
  • Against popular perception, left-hand batter Shikhar Dhawan doesn’t have a great record against the left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya: 29 off 26 with no dismissal and just one four and one six.

Pitch and conditions – red soil or black?

The Ekana Stadium was the worst ground for batters in IPL 2023. The average scoring rate of 6.93 was the lowest among the 10 venues that hosted at least five matches, the balls-per-boundary ratio of 7.7 was the highest, and the bounce was often low especially on black-soil surfaces. How these two high-octane batting line-ups play here will be interesting to watch.

Quotes

“I’m not going to lose one second’s sleep over KL Rahul.”
Justin Langer backs his captain despite the constant scrutiny over his strike rate

“Speaking on the Ekana pitch, I am aware of how the bounce and dimensions work on this surface. So my task is to inform the players on which are the good pockets where we can bowl on to get the maximum from the pitch.”
PBKS spin-bowling coach Sunil Joshi is familiar with the Lucknow surface because he coaches the Uttar Pradesh team in domestic cricket

Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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