Nicholas Pooran justified his Rs 16 crore billing, pulling off what looked like a difficult chase on a tacky track as Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) were back in IPL 2023 playoff hunt with a seven-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in Hyderabad on Saturday (May 13).
A target of 183 was certainly not an easy proposition on a track that got slower as the match progressed.
However, Pooran (44 not out ff 13 balls), with assistance from domestic bulwark Prerak Mankad (64 not out, 45 balls) and Marcus Stoinis (40 off 25 balls), helped LSG get past the target with four balls to spare.
Also read: IPL 2023 full schedule, match times, venues
LSG now have 13 points from 12 games and are now in fourth spot behind Gujarat Titans (16 points), CSK (15 points) and Mumbai Indians (14 points). However, they will have to win their next two games to have an assured berth in the last four stage.
As far as SRH are concerned, another tournament of non-performance is coming to an end with a below-par show.
Till the 15th over, SRH controlled the proceedings as LSG crawled to 114 for 2, needing 68 more from six overs.
Also read: IPL 2023: Suryakumar’s sensational ton, Rashid’s 10 sixes
However, Aiden Markram’s decision to give an extra over to part-time left-arm spinner Abhishek Sharma, who was walloped for five sixes in the 16th over, proved costly.
Stoinis thumped him for two maximums before being holed out at deep extra cover boundary. But Pooran came in and hit two 100m-plus sixes and one straight to completely change the equation.
Credit should be given to Saurashtras Mankad, who struggled to get going during the middle overs. But a pep-talk from mentor Gautam Gambhir during strategic time-out saw a sea-change in his approach as he showed more intent, hitting a straight six off T Natarajan.
Also read: IPL 2023: SRH fans chant ‘Kohli Kohli’, throw objects at LSG dugout
Earlier, Krunal Pandya produced a couple of back-to-back high-quality deliveries before Heinrich Klaasen and Abdul Samad took Sunrisers Hyderabad to a competitive 182 for 6 after opting to bat first.
Not known as a big turner of the ball, LSG skipper Krunal (2/24 in 4 overs) bowled two identical classical left-arm orthodox deliveries, which had drift as well as enough turn to hoodwink Sunrisers skipper Aiden Markram (28 off 20 balls) and Glenn Phillips (0).
In the case of Markram, Krunal drew him forward before the ball beat his outside edge to get stumped.
And the same delivery, pitched on same length found Phillips going on back-foot to see it deviate past his bat and peg the off-stump back. That the ball gripped a bit on both occasions also helped the bowler’s cause.
However, Heinrich Klaasen (47 off 29 balls), inarguably SRHs best batter, was in his natural attacking self as his three fours and an equal number of sixes took his team to a respectable total.
The difference between Krunal and leg-spinners Amit Mishra (1/40 in 4 overs) and Ravi Bishnoi (0/23 in 2 overs) was the optimum pace in his deliveries.
In the case of Bishnoi, he ended up bowling half-trackers while trying to bowl fast. When Mishra bowled, it didn’t help as he is much slower through the air compared to his younger days. Hence, the batters got enough time to plan their shots.
Once Krunal’s wickets reduced SRH to 115 for 5, Klaasen took it upon himself and got support from Abdul Samad (37 not out off 25 balls) as the duo added 58 in 6.4 overs to take the score past 175-run mark.
Towards the end of the SRH innings, the match was briefly stopped when the third umpire withheld the on-field umpire’s decision of ruling an Avesh Khan full-toss as a fair delivery when it looked like a no-ball.
That agitated the crowd which must have disturbed the LSG dug-out to briefly halt proceedings and Klaasen lost his concentration to miss out on a well-deserved half-ton.
Match 58. Lucknow Super Giants Won by 7 Wicket(s) https://t.co/CPUJyBdGYU #TATAIPL #SRHvLSG #IPL2023
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 13, 2023
(With agency inputs)