International Cricket

Match Report – RCB vs LSG 15th Match, April 02, 2024

Lucknow Super Giants 181 for 5 (De Kock 81, Pooran 40*, Maxwell 2-23) beat Royal Challengers Bengaluru 153 (Lomror 33, Mayank 3-14, Naveen 2-25) by 28 runs

Mayank Yadav set the speed gun on fire once again and ripped out Glenn Maxwell and Cameron Green on his way to a three-wicket haul as Lucknow Super Giants successfully defended 181 to hand Royal Challengers Bengaluru their second successive defeat at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

It was Quinton de Kock who laid the base for LSG’s victory with his second successive half-century. KL Rahul returned to action as their captain but he could only manage 20 off 14 balls. But Nicholas Pooran, who had captained LSG in their last game against Punjab Kings, clicked into a higher gear, smashing an unbeaten 40 off 21 balls to drag his team past 180 on a two-paced pitch.

The back-of-the-hand slower balls from Reece Topley and Yash Dayal were sticking in the surface, but Mayank doesn’t do slow. He repeatedly breached 150kph – and even cranked it up to a season-high 156.7kph – to shut down RCB’s chase.

De Kock dashes out of the blocks

De Kock had started the last IPL season on the bench as Kyle Mayers was preferred ahead of him. De Kock was then removed as Durban’s Super Giants captain ahead of SA20 2024, which followed. In the SA20, he got only two innings as an opener, but he has now reasserted his authority at the top this IPL with back-to-back half-centuries.

When Topley, de Kock’s team-mate in the SA20, offered him width, he stayed leg side of the ball and crunched him through the covers. Mohammed Siraj didn’t offer de Kock as much width, but when he erred on height and bowled at the thigh, de Kock picked him over square leg. De Kock claimed 32 of the 54 runs LSG scored in the powerplay for the loss of Rahul.

De Kock could have been dismissed for 32 in the next over, but Maxwell dropped him. He added 49 to his tally before Topley eventually had him holing out to long-off for 81 off 56 balls.

Maxwell impresses with the ball

On a night when RCB’s specialist spinner Mayank Dagar bowled just two overs for 23 runs, Maxwell stepped up with 4-0-23-2, including 12 dots. He fronted up to bowl two overs in the powerplay, where he had Rahul caught at extra-cover with a hard-length delivery.

He then returned after the powerplay to remove another right-hander – Marcus Stoinis (24 in 15) – by hiding the ball away from his reach. Maxwell also won his match-up against de Kock, keeping him to four off eight balls. That Maxwell, with four strikes, is RCB’s highest wicket-taker this season after four games shines the spotlight on the inefficiency of the frontline bowlers.

Pooran tees off

Pooran had a slow start: he was on eight off ten balls at one point. He then smote five sixes off the last two overs to silence a capacity crowd at the Chinnaswamy. The pick of the lot was the shanked six off a 110.4kph slower ball from Topley that landed on the roof the stadium.

The margin for error is wafer-thin against elite power-hitters like Pooran. When Topley missed his wider yorkers marginally, Pooran scythed him for a brace of sixes at point and put LSG back on top.

Siddharth arrives in the IPL

M Siddharth, the Tamil Nadu fingerspinner, was born in Jakarta in Indonesia. He moved to Chennai along with his family to become a professional cricketer. He wanted to become the next Irfan Pathan, but the coaches at his academy noted that he didn’t have enough pace to become a fast bowler.

So, Siddharth switched to left-arm spin, but he continues to swing the new ball. That’s his calling card in the Tamil Nadu Premier League. LSG’s team management had so much faith in him that they backed him to bowl with the new ball against Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis on the night.

After darting inswingers at speeds north of 110kph, Siddharth slowed his pace down and drew a leading edge from Kohli. In the next over, du Plessis was run-out, leaving RCB at 42 for 2 in the sixth over.

Full report to follow…

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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