LSG would be eager to get their first win at home in Lucknow against the Kings from Punjab

KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan
KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan (PC: X)

The Lucknow Super Giants are keen to regain momentum against a weakened Punjab Kings squad at the Ekana Sports City stadium in Lucknow on Saturday. Their collective effort is pivotal for a stellar display in front of the home crowd. Captain KL Rahul’s solid 58 against Rajasthan Royals is a reassuring factor. Deepak Hooda’s flashes of brilliance offers promise, with expectation he will convert good starts into substantial scores.

The performance of Quinton de Kock holds significant weight for LSG, while Nicholas Pooran is anticipated to provide fireworks once again. However, to challenge the Punjab Kings’ batting lineup, LSG must address their bowling department’s shortcomings. The absence of Mark Wood might hurt the Giants, with none of the bowlers seemingly cut for the job in the first game. Krunal Pandya emerged as the sole, economical bowler, whereas others leaked runs in plenty. Naveen-ul-Haq, though, showed glimpses of his expertise with two wickets. Overall, he lacked the consistency demanded by his team.

The Punjab Kings, despite being shaken by Dinesh Karthik’s heroics in the previous match, are eager to bounce back swiftly. Although Punjab have in Shikhar Dhawan and Jonny Bairstow two formidable T20 batsmen at the top of the order, they haven’t provided the side with explosive starts they crave. Their cautious approach in the initial overs has cost them dearly. Prabsimran Singh, another dynamic batter for the Kings, is yet to find his rhythm. The Kings would be banking deeply on their top three to come good.

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PBKS in their first game in IPL 2024
PBKS in their first game in IPL 2024 (PC: X)

The burden of responsibility largely rests on Sam Curran’s shoulders, who has exhibited promise with the bat in the first two encounters. His compatriot from England, Liam Livingstone, faces the challenge of delivering explosive finishes. It’s a skill that Livingstone has groomed himself into doing over some time. As vice-captain, Jitesh Sharma comprehends the significance of this season, especially with fierce competition among wicket-keeper-batters vying for a spot in the ICC World Cup T20 squad. The added weight of responsibility is expected to propel Jitesh towards producing explosive performances that can turn the tide for the Kings.

One notable bright spot for the Punjab Kings in their bowling department has been the impressive performance of Harpreet Brar in the first two matches. Brar has displayed excellent bowling skills, consistently taking wickets while maintaining tight control over the run rate. However, Kagiso Rabada seeks more support from his bowling partner Arshdeep Singh, who has turned in average performances thus far. Additionally, Harshal Patel, renowned for his skill in death bowling, needs to step up his game to bolster the Kings’ bowling lineup.

Both teams appear evenly matched on paper, yet the Lucknow Super Giants hold an edge with the backing of their home crowd and the formidable form of players like KL Rahul and Nicholas Pooran. Their recent performances tilt the balance in favour of LSG,

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