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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Turning Point: LSG Pacers' Tight Spells

Turning Point: LSG Pacers' Tight Spells

By NORMA ASTRID GODINHO
Last updated on: April 20, 2023 09:50 IST
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IMAGE: Lucknow Super Giants Openers K L Rahul and Kyle Mayers put on an 82-run stand. Photograph: BCCI

With Rajasthan Royals playing their first match at home in Jaipur this season, fans would have expected Sanju Samson and Co to give them something to cheer about.

Other than winning the toss, there was nothing much for Rajasthan fans to be happy about with their team losing the plot after having control of the match especially during the chase.

The pitch at the Sawai Mansingh stadium was nothing like we've witnessed at other venues in IPL 2023. It was a two-paced pitch and batting wasn't the easiest.

Put in to bat, Lucknow Super Giants started at a crawl and K L Rahul and Kyle Mayers took off only after the Powerplay. They each received a lifeline early in their innings and made up for the slow start as the innings progressed.

Jason Holder and Yuzvendra Chahal were hammered for plenty by the duo, with sixes and fours raining during their spell.

Just when it seemed the LSG openers were finding their feet, Holder struck by taking out Rahul in the 11th over. Soon after, Ayush Badoni was sent back by Trent Boult, bowled for 2.

Mayers did not let the wickets affect him as he took on Chahal and smashed him for 12 runs before Deepak Hooda, who was playing his 100th IPL match, was caught in the deep. Ravichandran Ashwin struck again the very same over by getting rid of half-centurion Mayers for 51.

IMAGE: LSG debutant Naveen-ul-Haq gave just 19 in his four overs, putting RR under the pump. Photograph: BCCI

With two new batters -- Marcus Stoinis and Nicholas Pooran at the crease and with 6 overs remaining and just 104 on the board, LSG had a massive task at hand.

They took four overs to find their feet before Pooran cut loose. Holder, who is not known to soak up pressure in the death overs, was once again given the responsibility to bowl the 19th over, only to be smacked for 17 runs off the 19th over to take LSG to 146 for 6.

LSG eventually finished with 154 for 7, a score that seemed below par, but with the wicket not a batters' paradise, 155 was always going to be challenging if not a winning score.

Yashasvi Jaiswal was the dominant of the Rajasthan openers as he went after young LSG pacer Yudhvir Singh, smashing him for 27 runs in his two overs.

But Naveen-ul-Haq and Avesh Khan bowled tight lengths, not giving the batters much to play with, RR's 50 coming off 7 overs.

IMAGE: Avesh Khan took 3 for 25. Photograph: BCCI

LSG needed others to backup the bowling effort of the quicks and spinners Amit Mishra and Ravi Bishnoi maintained to keep the noose around the batters.

In the four overs the leggies bowled in tandem in the middle overs, they gave just 31 runs. Whhen Stoinis took Jaiswal's wicket, Rajasthan began to crumble.

Sanju Samson was needlessly run out next over and Stoinis struck again, having Jos Buttler caught in the deep.

Again Naveen and Avesh kept bowling in the right areas to give nothing away and when the frustration rose, Shimron Hetmyer tried to loft one only to be caught in the deep.

There was a drought of boundaries in the middle overs, allowing RR's required run-rate to creep up above 12 an over.

At one point there was no boundary for 31 deliveries.

IMAGE: Marcus Stoinis got both the RR openers, and when Jos Buttler returned to the dugout, LSG knew they could win the game. Photograph: BCCI

Devdutt Padikkal hammered Stoinis for three boundaries in the 18th, but with 29 needed off the last two overs, one player from either team had to come up with the goods on the evening and it was Avesh Khan who defended 19 off the last over. He picked two wickets too and helped LSG defend the lowest total of IPL 2023.

Irrespective of the conditions, all Rajasthan needed was momentum to score, but RR's openers were not allowed to go big.

The pressure kept piling as the lack of runs kept Rajasthan on tenterhooks. They failed to recover after losing the big four wickets -- two picked by the ever dependable Stoinis (2 for 28).

Avesh finished with good figures of 3 for 25 and although Naveen went wicketless, he was impressive giving just 19 off his 4 overs in his first IPL game.

 

 

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NORMA ASTRID GODINHO

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