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LSG look for top-order lift against resurgent CSK

Dube vs LSG's spinners and Pooran vs Pathirana could be pivotal contests

Sruthi Ravindranath
Sruthi Ravindranath
18-Apr-2024 • 10 hrs ago

Match details

Lucknow Super Giants (P6 W3 L3 5th) vs Chennai Super Kings (P6 W4 L2 3rd)
Lucknow, 7.30pm IST (2pm GMT)

Big Picture

LSG had just gotten into the groove with three consecutive wins. They had also won 13 out of 13 games in a row while defending scores of 160 or more. They had won two games at the Ekana Stadium handily.
All of this came to an end when the then-bottom-placed Delhi Capitals humbled them at home. That was followed by a big defeat against Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens. Both games exposed their batting troubles: Quinton de Kock has fallen early, captain KL Rahul has been dismissed after good starts, and Marcus Stoinis at No. 4 has been inconsistent. Plus, they haven't yet worked out their No. 3. Their bowling unit, which until then had done a neat job of defending even middling totals, has since blown hot and cold.
Their batting average in the powerplay this season is just 25.66, the lowest among all teams. The top-order failure has meant that Nicholas Pooran, their best batter this season, has been expected to do the heavy lifting in the middle order.
It's not just the powerplay; scoring at the back end has also been an issue. They've scored at 10.04 in the end overs, the lowest among all teams in IPL 2024. Pooran, who has mostly come in at No. 5, has accounted for 12 of the 15 sixes LSG have hit all season.
The good news is that they'll be back to playing on what is expected to be a batting- and pace-friendly red-soil pitch, the one LSG used in their first match against Punjab Kings when they had defended 199. But they're coming up against a confident Chennai Super Kings side who have gotten back to winning ways with back-to-back wins after two defeats. CSK's fast bowlers have been among their biggest strengths this season, and their batters have contributed in high-scoring matches, so they'll be pleased with the conditions too.
How LSG use Ravi Bishnoi and Krunal Pandya in the middle overs on this pitch against the in-form Shivam Dube will be key. Will they keep spinners from bowling at him, just like Mumbai Indians did (which did not matter in the end)? Or will they unleash Bishnoi, who dismissed Dube at Chepauk last season after being taken for two sixes in the same over?

Form guide

LSG LLWWW (most recent match first)

Team news and Impact Player strategy

Lucknow Super Giants
Devdutt Padikkal made way for Deepak Hooda at No. 3 against KKR. LSG also handed a debut to Shamar Joseph - who endured a tough outing - in place of Naveen-ul-Haq. Mohsin Khan, who returned from a shoulder injury, also played against KKR and finished as their best bowler. If Mayank Yadav returns, he's likely to slot right into the line-up, possibly as an Impact sub for Quinton de Kock.
Likely XII: 1 Quinton de Kock, 2 KL Rahul (capt & wk), 3 Deepak Hooda, 4 Marcus Stoinis, 5 Nicholas Pooran, 6 Ayush Badoni, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Ravi Bishnoi, 9 Yash Thakur, 10 Shamar Joseph 11 Mohsin Khan 12 Mayank Yadav/Arshad Khan.
Chennai Super Kings
Will CSK look to bring in Moeen Ali for Daryl Mitchell, who's not made a big impact with the bat so far? Last season, Moeen finished as the Player-of-the-Match against LSG in Chennai and also bowled a miserly spell with two wickets in the rained-out encounter in Lucknow.
Head coach Stephen Fleming said Chahar was "recovering well" but it's unclear when he's expected to return. Ajinkya Rahane opened in CSK's last match and was subbed out because of a niggle, with Ruturaj Gaikwad walking in at No. 3.
Likely XII: 1 Ruturaj Gaikwad (capt), 2 Rachin Ravindra, 3 Ajinkya Rahane, 4 Shivam Dube, 5 Daryl Mitchell/Moeen Ali, 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 Sameer Rizvi, 8 MS Dhoni (wk), 9 Shardul Thakur, 10 Tushar Deshpande, 11 Matheesha Pathirana, 12 Mustafizur Rahman.

In the spotlight - Deepak Hooda and Daryl Mitchell

Deepak Hooda was a regular in the LSG XI in 2022 and 2023, but he's played just three of their six games this season. He endured a poor 2023 season, scoring just 84 runs in 12 games with a highest score of 17. In the last couple of years, he's also gone from being in the India reckoning to falling out of favour after a poor run. In two of the three games this year, he has come in as an Impact sub lower down the order, but has barely contributed, having been dismissed for scores of 26 and 10. Coming in at No. 3 as Padikkal's replacement against KKR, he could only make 8. Will LSG keep faith in Hooda and give him more chances in that position?
Daryl Mitchell is yet to put on his best show in IPL 2024. Having batted in four different positions in six matches, he's been slow off the blocks and has also not been able to convert his starts, averaging 27 at a strike rate of 125. He showed traces of what he's capable of when he took Sunil Narine for a six and a four coming in at No. 3 against KKR. Against Mumbai, he scored a sedate 17 off 14 before MS Dhoni came in and whacked 20 off four balls to take CSK to a match-winning total.

Pitch and conditions

The match will be played on a red-soil pitch, which could mean more pace and bounce for fast bowlers and not as much help for the spinners. It is expected to be a hot day in Lucknow, and players will hope evening temperatures will drop significantly from an expected maximum of 41 degrees Celsius.

Stats that matter

  • CSK bowlers have conceded just 7.03 an over in the middle overs, the best among all teams in this phase in IPL 2024.
  • Matheesha Pathirana has dismissed Pooran three times in three T20 meetings. The batter has struck at just 62.5 against the Sri Lankan quick.
  • CSK have been one of the best fielding sides this season, with a catch success rate of 79.41% that puts them just behind Mumbai Indians. They've only dropped seven out of 34 chances.


"To be honest, I think we can show a little bit more intent. It's something we've spoken about a lot this week. We want to show a lot more bravery. We want to show a lot more trust in our own abilities. Because if you look around the country, there's some big scores that are going on. I think the way that we've been playing needs to adapt because if we want to win this competition, we're going to need to be braver with the bat."
LSG assistant coach Lance Klusener on his side's batting
"We look at teams every game, so players know there's pressure around selection because there are so many good players and options on the bench. But we like to back players a lot and it's not always the Man-of-the-Match performance that we value the most. So we watch closely, but it's a long tournament so there are gonna be some ebbs and flows in form."
CSK head coach Stephen Fleming on Daryl Mitchell's form

Sruthi Ravindranath is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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