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IPL-2024: Lucknow Super Giants will lock horns with Rajasthan Royals in Lucknow: RR opt to bowl

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In IPL, Lucknow Super Giants will lock horns with the table toppers, Rajasthan Royals in at the Ekna Cricket Stadium in Lucknow. The match is scheduled to begin at 7.30 PM. Lucknow Super Giants are on fourth place in the table. Rajasthan Royals have won the toss and have opted to field.

Lucknow Super Giants must’ve flown into their home city on Wednesday with a chip on their shoulder and a spring to their step. Not often do you beat CSK in Chennai, matching them phase-for-phase and outplaying them at the death. It’s the sort of win that can galvanise a side pushing for the playoffs, but their latest homecoming comes with a tale of caution. It’s not just the quality of the opposition arriving on their shores, but the added trickery of the surface where they face-off.

LSG, like CSK this year, have been tough to overcome in their home conditions. Except on the one occasion earlier, when Delhi Capitals chased successfully. Rajasthan Royals, who would want to put one foot in the playoffs by the end of Saturday, will have their interest piqued by the fact that the pitch picked for the game is the same as the Delhi fixture – a black soil surface that saw LSG suffer a middle-overs collapse.

In the 10 overs after the PowerPlay in that game, LSG got 64/5 and eventually limped to an under-par total. Kuldeep Yadav did the bulk of the damage that day, turning the ball both ways to take out Marcus Stoinis and Nicholas Pooran off successive deliveries – the architects of the Chennai thriller.

Coincidentally, LSG’s assistant coach Sridharan Sriram said on the eve of the game that spinners need to be able to turn the ball both ways to avoid being predictable and be taken for plenty in the middle-overs where batters have continued to power through this season.

Over to the likes of R Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi then, to bring their variations and wrong ‘uns to this phase to dictate the direction the game takes. Yuzvendra Chahal too could do with increasing the frequency of googlies, particularly to a batter like Pooran who can hurt them if he makes his way to the death overs.

The middle-overs (overs 7-16) numbers this season so far make for an interesting reading. Between them, RR have struck at a better rate (144.76 to LSG’s 138.79) while LSG have been tighter with the ball (Economy rate of 8.23 to RR’s 8.92). Brace yourself, then, for an intriguing middle-overs bout.

Squads:

Rajasthan Royals Squad: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson(w/c), Riyan Parag, Dhruv Jurel, Shimron Hetmyer, Rovman Powell, Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Sharma, Yuzvendra Chahal, Keshav Maharaj, Shubham Dubey, Navdeep Saini, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Kuldeep Sen, Nandre Burger, Tanush Kotian, Donovan Ferreira, Abid Mushtaq, Kunal Singh Rathore

Lucknow Super Giants Squad: Quinton de Kock, KL Rahul(w/c), Marcus Stoinis, Devdutt Padikkal, Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Hooda, Ayush Badoni, Krunal Pandya, Matt Henry, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohsin Khan, Yash Thakur, Arshin Kulkarni, Krishnappa Gowtham, Yudhvir Singh Charak, Manimaran Siddharth, Arshad Khan, Prerak Mankad, Amit Mishra, Kyle Mayers, Shamar Joseph, Ashton Turner, Naveen-ul-Haq, Mayank Yadav

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