LSG have Rahul’s injury to deal with as they look to extend CSK’s losing streak

LSG have Rahul’s injury to deal with as they look to extend CSK’s losing streak

Big picture – LSG look to course-correct after RCB drama

What’s an IPL without a little bit of drama, amirite?

LSG will want to quickly put all of that behind them as they come up against Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday. This is the same team that smashed 257 in Mohali less than a week ago, but on Monday, their batting looked toothless, with most of their batters getting out trying to attack on a slow surface at the Ekana Stadium.

Rahul’s injury status is not clear yet. He did come out to bat at No. 11 against RCB but was unable to run between the wickets. If he is, indeed, ruled out of the match, will Quinton de Kock finally get a chance? If they do want to get de Kock in, then one of their options is to bench Naveen-ul-Haq and bring in Avesh Khan. But that makes it an all-Indian bowling attack. They could also make Ayush Badoni play up the order. Or even Marcus Stoinis, Deepak Hooda, Manan Vohra or Prerak Mankad. Options aplenty there.

CSK are coming off back-to-back losses, which have taken them from No. 1 on the points table to No. 4, but the Lucknow pitch might work for them. The surfaces have been slow and have aided turn, and though this one is likely to be played on a red-soil strip, CSK have quality in their line-up.

Team news – question marks over Rahul and Unadkat

Apart from Rahul’s injury, LSG are also waiting on whether Jaydev Unadkat, who injured his left shoulder in the nets on Sunday, needs to travel to Mumbai for scans. Krunal Pandya captained Super Giants after Rahul left the field on Monday, and might have to do it again if Rahul misses this game. Mark Wood is expected to be available for their next two games before flying home for the birth of his daughter, and LSG would be tempted to give him a go if a red-soil pitch is in use.

Form guide

Super Giants LWLWL (last five matches, most recent first)
Super Kings LLWWW

Impact Player strategy

Lucknow Super Giants
Super Giants will be forced to make changes if Rahul is unavailable, and de Kock could finally get a game, but it would mean many changes to their make-up. The likelier option is, perhaps, to get an Indian batter to fill in.

Probable XII 1 Kyle Mayers, 2 Manan Vohra/Prerak Mankad, 3 Ayush Badoni, 4 Deepak Hooda, 5 Krunal Pandya (capt), 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Nicholas Pooran (wk), 8 K Gowtham, 9 Avesh Khan/Yash Thakur, 10 Ravi Bishnoi, 11 Amit Mishra, 12 Naveen-ul-Haq/Mark Wood.

The big question

Who should open with Mayers if Rahul can’t play?

442 votes

Chennai Super Kings
Mitchell Santner had been performing well but was dropped once Maheesh Theekshana became available. Theekshana has taken just five wickets in six innings at an economy of 8.4 this season and he hasn’t taken a single wicket in nine overs in the powerplay. CSK could be tempted to bring Santner back, given he’s also a gun fielder and can contribute with the bat.

Probable XII: 1 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 2 Devon Conway, 3 Ajinkya Rahane, 4 Moeen Ali, 5 Ambati Rayudu, 6 Shivam Dube, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 MS Dhoni (capt, wk), 9 Matheesha Pathirana, 10 Tushar Deshpande, 11 Maheesh Theekshana/Mitchell Santner, 12 Akash Singh

Pitch and conditions

A red-soil pitch, instead of the black-soil surface for the RCB game, is expected to be used at the Ekana Stadium, which will mean more bounce on offer. Despite expected cloud cover in the afternoon, there is no forecast of rain. The average first-innings score at the venue this season has been 147.

Stats and Trivia

  • Kyle Mayers has taken on spinners with confidence, striking at 175 against them this season, which is the second highest for batters who have at least 75 runs. But Moeen Ali has dismissed him twice in three meetings in T20s. Against CSK earlier this season, Mayers brought up a 21-ball half-century before getting out to Moeen in the sixth over.
  • LSG have the lowest win percentage (33.3%) while chasing in the IPL since 2022, losing eight out of the 12 matches in which they have batted second.
  • MS Dhoni has held himself back until the end overs this season, and that’s allowed him to bat against his preferred style of bowling almost all the time – he’s faced spin only in two of his five innings. In his three previous IPL seasons (2020, 2021, 2022), Dhoni had strike rates of 93.50, 72.09 and 84.12 against spin. He’s done better this year, going at 150.00, but he’s only faced 12 balls of spin so far. There’s a case for LSG, therefore, to hold back an over of spin for when Dhoni arrives at the crease.
  • Doing this would have another potential benefit, since Ravindra Jadeja has also tended to struggle against spin. He went at 80.55, 63.41 and 83.33 against spin in his three previous IPL seasons, and this year he’s scored 21 off 16 balls against that style of bowling.
  • Tushar Deshpande could be on his way to setting a dubious record. With 17 wickets in nine games, he is the leading wicket-taker so far in IPL 2023, but he’s also leaked runs at an economy rate of 11.07. Of all previous Purple Cap winners, Mohit Sharma (23 wickets in 2014) had the poorest economy rate: 8.39.
  • Sruthi Ravindranath is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

    (With Inputs from ESPN)

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