While the heated exchange between Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli turned the limelight away from the game itself, the fact remains that Lucknow Super Giants have been a disappointing side at their home ground. Having failed to get over the line in a low-scoring game against Royal Challengers Bangalore, the Super Giants suffered their third loss at home on the trot and will have their work cut out when Chennai Super Kings, known for their acumen on tracks that have been on the slower side, come visiting.
In the past two matches at the Ekana Cricket Stadium, LSG have failed to chase down targets of 136 and 127, with their overseas contingent especially having struggled here. Apart from the 38-ball 73 scored by Kyle Mayers in the opening game against Delhi Capitals, there hasn’t been much to speak about in terms of contributions from the foreign players who have not been able to adapt to the pitches here. Even the Indian batters, barring KL Rahul, have not made much of an impact, which leaves the team still searching for answers with two home games remaining.
Meanwhile, the Super Kings will feel more at home in Lucknow with a bowling attack capable of sucking all the momentum out of the opposition’s innings. While they need to improve in the powerplay and the death, the middle overs are CSK’s favourite period of play and they would certainly enjoy such a wicket compared to what they got back at home in Chepauk as spin, going against expectations, did not play a major role in most of their matches. With a batting department that has been working smoothly, and having bowlers who can get the best out of sluggish pitches, CSK will be entering the game as favourites, more so with Rahul being an unlikely starter after picking up a hip-flexor injury in the last game.
Another low-scoring game. In the previous afternoon game at this venue, the Titans defended 135 despite LSG having scored more than 100 in the first 14 overs. Teams batting first have won three of the five matches played here. But thunderstorms have been forecast during the match time, which could lead to a curtailed game. Hence, bat or bowl will be a vexing issue for the captain winning the toss.
Probable XI of LSG: Quinton de Kock (wk), Kyle Mayers, Deepak Hooda, Marcus Stoinis, Krunal Pandya, Nicholas Pooran, Yash Thakur, Naveen-Ul-Haq, Ravi Bishnoi, Avesh Khan, Amit Mishra.
Probable XI of CSK: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devon Conway, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, Shivam Dube, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Matheesha Pathirana, Tushar Deshpande, Maheesh Theekshana.