Big Picture: Four games in eight days for Sunrisers
Yet, their good work in the first half means a playoff spot for the second-year running isn’t entirely out of bounds. But to get there, they will still need to win at least two of their three remaining games – ideally all three – beginning with the one against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday.
For starters, they’d be glad it’s an away game, on a surface that will potentially offer more value to the batters than the ones they’ve had to play on back home. It’ll be a welcome change from the slow burns that has negated their home advantage greatly; they’ve won two and lost three so far.
Like Super Giants, they’ve had to tinker around with their combinations, mostly with the batting. Two of their big-ticket signings – Mayank Agarwal and Harry Brook – have had to make way after underwhelming returns, while Glenn Phillips will be keen to build on his Player-of-the-match winning 7-ball 25 lower down the order.
Beyond line-ups, strategies and results, the contest will throw up a tantalising prospect of watching legspinners of varied experience and skill go up against another. There’s Bishnoi and Amit Mishra from Super Giants, and Mayank Markande for Sunrisers. And the relatively bigger boundaries in Uppal could bring them all into play.
The Super Giants spinners ran riot and exposed Sunrisers’ lack of left-handedness when the two sides last met. Spinners combined to take 6 for 57 in a low-scoring game that Super Giants won comfortably, by five wickets.
A win for Sunrisers this time will allow them to join the 10-point logjam, while Super Giants can consolidate a spot in the top-four should they pocket two points. It’s all to play for then.
Sunrisers Hyderabad WLWLL (last five matches, most recent first)
Lucknow Super Giants LNLWL
Should Nicholas Pooran be batting in the top four for LSG?
Yes, it will strengthen them in KL Rahul’s absence
No, he’s best suited to be play finisher
Impact Player Strategy
Mishra could be subbed out for a Ayush Badoni when Super Giants bat. Sunrisers will possibly bring in T Natarajan when they bowl and sub him with Rahul Tripathi when they bat.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 1 Anmolpreet Singh, 2 Abhishek Sharma, 3 Rahul Tripathi, 4 Aiden Markram (capt), 5 Glenn Phillips, 6 Heinrich Klaasen (wk), 7 Abdul Samad, 8 Vivrant Sharma, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Marco Jansen, 11 Mayank Markande, 12 T Natarajan
Lucknow Super Giants: 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Kyle Mayers, 3 Krunal Pandya (capt), 4 Marcus Stoinis, 5 Nicholas Pooran, 6 Ayush Badoni, 7 Deepak Hooda, 8 Ravi Bishnoi, 9 Avesh Khan, 10 Mohsin Khan, 11 K Gowtham, 12 Amit Mishra
Stats that matter: Can Sunrisers’ misfiring batters step up?
Pitch and conditions
Temperatures have touched 40 degrees celsius and it’s only going to get hotter. The rains that had lashed the city earlier in the month seem to have abated for the moment. Dew has been minimal. Tracks have largely offered consistent bounce and some movement for the seamers. Spinners haven’t quite been as successful in terms of wickets taken but have been more economical.
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
(With Inputs from ESPN)
#Sunrisers #mustwin #territory #Super #Giants #margin #error #fast #closing