Rahul, bowlers help LSG get back to winning ways



KL Rahul (82 off 53 balls) and Quinton de Kock put on a game-breaking opening stand of 134 to pilot Lucknow Super Giants to a comfortable eight-wicket victory over Chennai Super Kings in Lucknow. LSG chased down the target of 177 in 19 overs as the franchise got back to winning ways.

Rahul-De Kock duet

Before the start of the game, there were a few question marks surrounding how Rahul and de Kock were constructing their respective innings. On a rather balmy night, Rahul in particular, played with a sense of freedom. He decided to up the ante in the third over by crunching a couple of pulls off Deepak Chahar. One of those hits were on the rise, which gave an indicator that the deck had a little more pace in it. 

Chahar, who is known more for swing bowling, continued to test the middle of the pitch and paid the price, with Rahul slamming a couple of cut shots. The LSG captain soon reached his fifty in the 11th over. By then, the pair had posted an IPL record – highest partnership for any wicket at this venue. De Kock followed it up by accumulating a fifty in the 15th over. 

He fell in the same over, while Rahul was dismissed in the 18th. But by then the result of the match was more or less a foregone conclusion. Nicholas Pooran and Marcus Stoinis took the side home.

LSG bowlers chip away

The keynote to LSG’s victory came down to their bowlers keeping CSK in check for long periods of the game by taking wickets at regular intervals. In the opening over itself, Mohsin Khan found just enough swing and seam movement to castle Rachin Ravindra. Yash Thakur then dislodged Ruturaj Gaikwad. Ajinkya Rahane looked in decent touch before he was cleaned up by Krunal Pandya.  

The left-arm spinner also removed Sameer Rizvi, while Stoinis picked up the scalp of the in-form Shivam Dube. Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali and MS Dhoni came up with some lusty blows in the slog overs, but it didn’t prove to be enough to challenge LSG’s batting unit.

Krunal keeps it simple

So, what was the method behind Krunal’s success? It came down to simple basics, where he bowled a stump-to-stump line and mostly bowled quicker through. Krunal didn’t just take crucial wickets, but also conceded just 16 runs in three overs. This performance would boost Krunal’s confidence as he has had a rather quiet IPL.

The Dhoni show

Dhoni continued to steal the show with his pyrotechnics as he smashed his way to a quick-fire 9-ball 28. His innings included three boundaries and two sixes, with one of those hits being measured at a whopping 101 metres. The former India skipper has been in great form in what could possibly be his final IPL season. Incidentally, he has been striking at a very impressive 255.88. On a side note, Dhoni once again received a rousing welcome from the crowd as he made his way out to the middle to take his guard.