IPL playoff hopeful LSG is cautious about KKR’s potent all-around offensive force

As the two sides go into the IPL playoffs, the Lucknow Super Giants will need to bring their “A” game to the table to defeat the formidable Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday.

After defeating the Mumbai Indians by 24 runs on all counts to go into second position with 14 points, one more point toward qualifying, KL Rahul’s LSG will have to find a method to get over the danger posed by Shreyas Iyer’s team.

With 12 points from 10 games—six wins and four losses—Lucknow Super Giants are ranked third, only one spot behind KKR.

The race for the final four has intensified, and LSG will be under pressure to avoid getting into a mid-table battle with the dangerous Chennai Super Kings (10 points) and Delhi Capitals (10 points) trailing closely behind them at fourth and fifth, respectively.

In their last assignment at Ekana Stadium here, LSG was far from impressive, as the Mumbai Indians had them work hard in a modest 145-run chase, prevailing by just four wickets in the final over.

The two most important players for LSG have been captain Rahul and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis. It is unclear if veteran Quinton de Kock of South Africa would be reinstated in lieu of rookie Arshin Kulkarni, who began the batting in the last game.

Nicholas Pooran has continuously scored important runs despite not having scored a fifty since the first game, but after LSG’s troubles against the Mumbai Indians, questions have been raised about the team’s overall finishing abilities.

LSG gave MI a serious sniff towards the end by losing wickets quickly and finishing their small chase with some stuttering. It seemed as if they were making heavy weather.

This IPL, Ayush Badoni has had a quiet start, and the uncapped Indian batsman will be eager to brush off his rustiness.

The bowlers for LSG will also be put to the test, since none of them has shown much individual brilliance in this IPL. LSG is probably going to be without Mayank Yadav, their fast pacer.

With only three losses in their previous 11 games, KKR has needed extraordinary circumstances to be stopped in their tracks. In a high-scoring thriller, RR overcame KKR thanks to their all-around brilliance, while CSK exploited a spin-friendly surface to squeeze out a victory in Chepauk.

If anything, the Punjab Kings’ IPL record-breaking pursuit of KKR was a stark reminder of the team’s bowling deficiencies, but Iyer’s team bounced back from that loss with two convincing victories.

But after defeating MI on a slow track that revealed their weaknesses as batsmen, KKR will strive for a much better showing.

The KKR hitters failed to set a good target when the ball did not come on to the bat for the second time in this IPL, forcing them to shift gears.

At one point, KKR was 57 for five and in danger of being shot out for a pitiful score, but a magnificent stand of 83 runs between Venkatesh Iyer (70) and Manish Pandey (42) saved the day.

Before the bowlers executed a flawless job to earn a 24-run victory, Iyer and Pandey were obliged to soak up pressure, restrict their aggressive approach, and attempt to farm the strike to establish a comeback route for their team.

Groups (from):

The Lucknow Super Giants are made up of Quinton de Kock, KL Rahul (c & wk), Deepak Hooda, Ayush Badoni, Marcus Stoinis, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Yash Thakur, Manimaran Siddharth, Prerak Mankad, Arshad Khan, Krishnappa Gowtham, Amit Mishra, Kyle Mayers, Ashton Turner, Matt Henry, Naveen-ul-Haq, Devdutt Padikkal, Yudhvir Singh Charak, Mayank Yadav, and Arshin Kulkarni.

The Kolkata Knight Riders are composed of the following players: Rinku Singh, Angkrish Raghuvanshi, Sherfane Rutherford, Manish Pandey, Andre Russell, Nitish Rana, Venkatesh Iyer, Anukul Roy, Ramandeep Singh, Varun Chakravarthy, Sunil Narine, Vaibhav Arora, Mitchell Starc, Dushmantha Chameera, Sakib Hussain, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Gus Atkinson, Allah Ghazanfar, and Phil Salt.

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