Lucknow Super Giants Recent Form
Lucknow are here to stay.
Some may have thought they were a bit of a flash in the pan after a good start but so far they’re ticking every box needed to go deep in this tournament.
Last time out they beat Mumbai, mostly on the back of an absolutely brilliant century from KL Rahul.
All centuries in T20 are somewhat brilliant because it’s so hard to get to 100 off 50-odd balls but this was a particularly good one, filled with classy flicks, lofted drives and the odd monstrous hit.
It catapulted Rahul into second on the top runscorer list for the season, which is pretty remarkable given he’s twice been out for zero.
With the ball it was very much a team effort, with five different bowlers taking wickets.
One of those was Marcus Stoinis and as we’ve said before, any side is better balanced with the big Australian all-rounder in it.
Avesh Khan took three wickets as he carried on having a good season himself.
Lucknow are now with four wins from six and will seriously fancy their chances of at least making the Playoffs.
They brought back Manish Pandey last time out and he played pretty well for his 38 off 29, the high strike rate the reason why it was such an important knock.
In the process they left out all-rounder Gowtham.
It was an interesting move because their batting looked a bit stronger than their bowling anyway but they obviously feel that with Jason Holder and Marcus Stoinis in the side, they have enough all-rounders already and are more concerned with having a reliable man at number three.
Given they’re fresh from a good win and you can see why they’re unlikely to change the team.
Player to Watch: KL Rahul
The best thing Luckow will probably ever do is having bought KL Rahul before the auction.
Yes, he was extremely expensive but in the process you’re buying the man who is arguably the best batsman in the IPL, full stop.
As we’ve said on these pages before, no-one else has featured in the Top 3 for the Orange Cap in each of the last three years.
He won it two years ago, was second in 2019 and came third last year, on all three occasions playing less games than his rivals, and whilst playing for a weaker team.
As we said already, he’s currently second on the list for the Orange Cap and with Lucknow expected to go far, he’ll surely come very close once again.
And of course, it’s not just his runs. He’s a calm and composed captain with good match awareness and his form is a big reason for their bright start to the season.
He’s 2.92 with 10CRIC to be their top batsman here and also the 6.0 favourite with Betway to be man of the match for a second consecutive game.
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Lucknow’s Likely XI
De Kock, Rahul, Mandey, Stoinis, Hooda, Badoni, Krunal Pandya, Holder, Khan, Chammera, Bishnoi.
Royal Challengers Bangalore Recent Form
RCB have been a bit up and down but they got the job done in style over Delhi on Saturday.
On a pitch where chasing is generally the way to go, a good innings from Glenn Maxwell and a wonderful cameo from Dinesh Karthik got RCB to a big total and then it was over to the bowlers, who kept chipping away by taking wickets, and they won quite comfortably in the end.
So plenty to be positive about, especially the fact that their lower-middle order is looking stronger than it has in years and years.
But there are a couple of concerns. Two of their big stars with the bat, Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli, are short on runs.
It’s not a problem at the moment because they’re winning and others are making up for it but sooner or later some big contributions from them will be needed.
Harshan Patel was back in action after missing the previous game as a result of his sister passing away.
They’d badly missed him and look better for him returning.
By having an overseas players as an opener (du Plessis), a batting all-rounder (Maxwell), a world-class spinner (Hasaranga de Silva) and a pace bowler (Hazlewood) they’ve distributed the international talent pretty well and the XI they played last time looks to be the strongest they can field.
Player to Watch: Dinesh Karthik
Karthik has been around for a long time and has played for several different IPL franchises, including being captain of KKR.
After not being retained by Kolkata, some may have felt his time in the IPL may have been coming to an end but think again.
RCB snapped him up, made him their wicket-keeper and are batting him at six or seven, where he’s been superb so far.
Despite batting down the order, he’s their top runscorer so far with 197 runs from six games.
He’s striking at over 200 and has already picked up two man-of-the-match awards, proof of the impact he’s making.
No match is over with Karthik at the crease who’s been the best finisher so far this season in the IPL.
He’s admitted that he’s desperate to get back into the India team, especially in a World Cup year.
The way he’s going, he’s doing absolutely everything to ensure he features at it.
It’s 8.0 with Betway that he can be their top batsman here.
Bangalore’s Likely XI
Du Plessis, Bharat, Kohli, Maxwell, Prabhudessai, Ahmed, Karthik, Hasaranga, Siraj, Patel, Hazlewood.
Venue & conditions
The DY Patil Stadium is arguably the hardest ground to work out.
On Sunday, Punjab crawled to just 151, easily chased by SRH.
Before that there were first innings scores of 192/4 by Gujarat (defended), 216/4 by CSK (defeded) and 162/7 by Gujarat again, this time not defended against SRH.
And before that, Chennai managed just 154, again easily chased by SRH.
So first innings scores have been all over the place but you’d think 175 is about the par score here.
The split for teams batting first and second is pretty balanced, unlike other grounds where chasing has been the way to go.
In other words, if you get to about 180 batting first you should go on to win it, but a score of around 165 will probably be easily chased.