There are no second chances in Chennai

The big picture: Can LSG keep a clean sheet against Mumbai?

Of the four teams that made the playoffs, the Lucknow Super Giants were the least glamorous and talked about. They certainly don’t have a rich history of Super Kings of Chennai and Indians of Mumbai, but even the Titans of Gujarat get a lot more attention than them. LSG’s top scorer – Marcus Stoinis – is 19th on the points table this season, and their top bowler – Ravi Bishnoi – is 11th on the list of top wicket takers. They don’t have a future Indian superstar at the top, a seasoned fast bowler or a wrist-twisting magician.

That LSG reached the playoffs without regular captain and star hitter KL Rahul says a lot about captain Krunal Pandya. Under his guidance, they have won three of their last four games; victory came late in the league to qualify without too much pressure.

One thing they have in common with the Titans is a clean sheet against one of the most successful teams in the IPL. Just as the Titans were 3-0 against CSK prior to Qualifier 1, LSG are 3-0 against their Eliminator opponents Mumbai. They have only played once in the league stage this season, and LSG won that home game by five points.

LSG have been victorious in setting and chasing goals in their recent outings, but they have relied on their foreign strikers – Stoinis, Nicholas Pooran, Kyle Mayers and Quinton de Kock – for most of their moves. Apart from Rahul, the other Indian strikers have scored only two and a half centuries this season, against ten fifty-somethings from overseas.

Another area they want to improve is their power play bowling. They conceded the fewest goals in this phase and conceded the most goalless power play during the league phase. They used a variety of new pitchers, and tee wickets will be crucial against Mumbai’s strong and deep hitting network.

Mumbai endured a much tougher journey to the playoffs due to injuries to key players, but they once again benefited from India’s deluge of talent: Nehal Wadhera impressed with his flashy ability, and Akash Madhwal was their pitcher killer. They qualified for the playoffs in fourth place by beating Sunrisers Hyderabad on the league’s final day and then the Titans helped them by beating RCB.

While Mumbai are the best fighter team this season, LSG are the best defender overall. Both must consider the possibility of a slow pitch, and whether or not dew will play a role, when deciding what to do if they win the pitch. There was no second chance in Chennai on Wednesday: the winner is one step away from the final, the loser is eliminated.

Bombay Indians WLWWL (last five matches completed, most recent first)
Super Giant Lucknow WWWLL

Team News: No injury concerns

LSG has no known fitness issues. For Mumbai, Tilak Varma seems like a good choice as he was on their Impact Player’s substitute list for their previous game and filled in, but was not required to strike.

LSG would swap their opening batsman, such as Karan Sharma, for one of their frontline bowlers such as Mohsin Khan or Yash Thakur.

Super Giant Lucknow (possibly XII): 1 Quinton de Kock (week), 2 Karan Charm3 Krunal Pandya (captain), 4 Marcus Stoinis, 5 Nicholas Pooran, 6 Ayush Badoni, 7 Prerak Mankad, 8 K Gowtham, 9 Naveen-ul-Haq, 10 Ravi Bishnoi, 11 Mohsin Khan, 12 Yash Thakur

Mumbai would also employ a similar strategy and substitute bowlers such as Madhwal for Tilak if they bowled first, or vice versa if they struck first.

Bombay Indians (possibly XII): 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Ishan Kishan (wk), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Nehal Wadhera, 5 Tim David, 6 Tilak Varma7 Cameron Green, 8 Chris Jordan, 9 Hrithik Shokeen/Kumar Kartikeya, 10 Piyush Chawla, 11 Jason Behrendorff, 12 Akash Madwal

Stats that matter: Can Suryakumar shine away from Wankhede?

  • Mumbai reached the playoffs for the 10th time in 16 seasons; LSG made two out of two.
  • The Eliminator will likely be played on the same ground where CSK beat Mumbai in a low score game. Chennai will again be hot and humid.

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    Cheryl Tenny

    "Thinker. Food advocate. Incurable coffee enthusiast. Communicator. Proud student. Zombie buff. Tv fanatic. Extreme troublemaker."

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