February 24, 2024

Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) will hope to finally get a ‘Q’ against their name on the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 points table when they take on the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday.

Debutants LSG had, for the longest time, found themselves at the second spot, occasionally surging past Gujarat Titans to the top. On Sunday, however, they conceded the No 2 spot to the Rajasthan Royals following a 24-run loss at the Brabourne Stadium. They can go back to their old position, and also confirm their qualification for the playoffs should they emerge winners on Wednesday.

They will, however, have to sort out the issues in their batting order that was the main cause behind their defeats in their last two outings, which caused them to drop a place in the rankings. LSG were bundled out for a lowly 82 while chasing 145 against GT, and were restricted to 154 after being set 179 to win by RR.

Lucknow Super Giants are currently sitting on 16 points, and one more victory should put a 'Q' against their name on the IPL 2022 points table. Sportzpics

Lucknow Super Giants are currently sitting on 16 points, and one more victory should put a ‘Q’ against their name on the IPL 2022 points table. Sportzpics

Kolkata’s hopes of finishing in the top four are very slim given they currently sit at the sixth position with 12 points in hand and their outing against Lucknow is their final league game of the season.

A win on Wednesday will bring them level on points with Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore and while they’re expected to finish ahead of RCB given the latter’s abysmal Net Run Rate, they’ll have to hope DC end up losing to Mumbai Indians, or win, but by not too big a margin.

Lucknow had outplayed Kolkata the last time these two sides met, on 7 May in Pune, with Shreyas Iyer’s men getting bundled out for 101 after being set 177 to win. Lucknow will seek inspiration from this performance when they take to the field on Wednesday, hoping to complete a season double against the two-time champions.

Star Watch

Andre Russell: The big-hitting Jamaican has been among the biggest entertainers this season, scoring 330 runs at an average of 41.25 with a blistering strike rate of 182.32, making him a prized scalp in the eyes of the LSG attack. What’s more, he has been just as effective with the ball this year, collecting 17 wickets at an average of 13.71, finding himself in the Top 10 in the bowling charts. Russell played a central role in the team’s dominant victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday with an unbeaten 49 as well as a haul of 3/22.

KL Rahul: The Lucknow skipper has done a fine job as a captain in his franchise’ debut season, but his form with the bat in their recent outings will be a cause for worry. Rahul was at one point competing with RR’s Jos Buttler for the Orange Cap, scoring two unbeaten 103s along with a couple of half-centuries; his scores in Lucknow’s last three outings though have read 0, 8 and 10, which no doubt puts pressure on the rest of the batting lineup. Rahul is due a big score, and he will hope to regain his form in the business end of the tournament and hopefully produce a knock that clinches a playoff spot for his side.

Uncapped Watch

Rinku Singh: Aligarh’s Rinku has definitely made an impact for the Knight Riders as a middle-order batter this season, with his unbeaten 42 in a successful chase against RR being his standout performance. He has scored 134 runs so far this season at an average of 33.5 and a strike rate of 131.37 and can play both the second fiddle when the likes of Russell tee off, or take charge himself. And the team will surely look towards him should the top-order fail to fire on Wednesday.

Mohsin Khan: Khan has been having quite the debut season so far, and is among the most impressive youngsters to have emerged in the 15th edition of the league, with 10 wickets to his name from seven outings at an average of 15.20 and an economy just a shade above the six-an-over mark. Khan was having a good run with the ball stretching five games until going wicketless for 43 runs against Rajasthan, a performance from which he’ll hope to bounce back on Wednesday.

Quotes

“If you look at our team we have a lot of match-winners, match-winners in the sense that they go and play their role in that particular moment. Be it only three-four overs remaining or in the PowerPlay, it’s only about doing your role and sticking to it”

KL Rahul on the team’s batting order after the defeat to RR

“Each and every player takes it well, and they have put in their best efforts. The win was comprehensive, and when I spoke to the players, they were pumped up to win the game today”

— Shreyas Iyer after KKR’s win over SRH

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