Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) will lock horns with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the 68th match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 at Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Saturday, May 20.
Lucknow Super Giants and Chennai Super Kings are currently neck and neck with 15 points each, having enjoyed similar success in the tournament so far. Both teams have won seven out of their 13 matches, with five losses and one match being abandoned. However, LSG occupies third spot while the Super Kings are placed second due to their superior net run rate.
However, the Super Giants hold an edge over Chennai Super Kings as the latter will be playing their match in the afternoon on the same day. This allows the Krunal Pandya-led side to determine the target they need to achieve against Kolkata Knight Riders in order to surpass Chennai Super Kings' net run rate and potentially secure the second spot in the rankings.
Kolkata Knight Riders, on the other hand, have struggled throughout the tournament, managing just six wins out of their 13 matches. They are currently teetering on the edge of elimination from the playoffs race. Even a win in this match won't be enough to revive their qualification hopes, given that Lucknow Super Giants, Mumbai Indians, and Royal Challengers Bangalore are still in the hunt for a playoffs berth.
Predicted Playing XIs
Kolkata Knight Riders:
Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Jason Roy, Nitish Rana (c), Andre Russell, Rinku Singh, Shardul Thakur, Sunil Narine, Vaibhav Arora, Harshit Rana, Suyash Sharma, Varun Chakravarthy
Lucknow Super Giants:
Quinton de Kock (wk), Kyle Mayers, Prerak Mankad, Krunal Pandya (c), Marcus Stoinis, Nicholas Pooran, Ayush Badoni, Amit Mishra, Ravi Bishnoi, Swapnil Singh/Avesh Khan, Mohsin Khan
The pitch at Eden Gardens has favoured batters so far in the tournament, with a focus on exploiting the powerplay and death overs. Kolkata Knight Riders' bowlers have excelled in the middle overs, consistently taking wickets. Particularly noteworthy is their spin trio of Suyash Sharma, Varun Chakravarthy, and Sunil Narine, who have wreaked havoc on opposing teams.
It will be intriguing to see how Lucknow Super Giants adapt to this challenge, especially considering their own spin duo of Amit Mishra and Ravi Bishnoi, who are likely to be part of their playing XI.
Pitch Stats [IPL 2023]
Average 1st-innings score: 196
Average 2nd-innings score: 171
Matches won by the team batting 1st: 3
Matches won by the team batting 2nd: 3
Kolkata Knight Riders and Lucknow Super Giants have faced each other twice last year, with the latter emerging victorious on both occasions. Hence, the head-to-head record between these two teams currently stands at 2-0 in favour of the Super Giants.
de Kock vs Narine - Balls: 51, Runs: 49, Outs: 3
de Kock vs Shardul - Balls: 44, Runs: 31, Outs: 2
Pooran vs Narine - Balls: 91, Runs: 114, Outs: 2
Pooran vs Varun - Balls: 20, Runs: 28, Outs: 2
Stoinis vs Shardul - Balls: 13, Runs: 20, Outs: 2
Krunal vs Russell - Balls: 28, Runs: 39, Outs: 2
Nicholas Pooran: Lucknow Super Giants' investment in Nicholas Pooran during the auction has paid off handsomely, as he has been a consistent performer for the team so far in the tournament. Coming to numbers, the hard-hitting batter has accumulated 300 runs in 13 matches with a strike rate surpassing 170.
Nitish Rana: He has been a standout performer for Kolkata Knight Riders, leading the team from the front with his batting prowess. With 407 runs in 13 matches, Rana has displayed consistency, averaging 33.75. He is heading into this game having recently scored a fifty against the Chennai Super Kings.
Marcus Stoinis: He has been the linchpin of Lucknow Super Giants' middle order, providing stability and power. With 368 runs in 13 matches, he has been a consistent performer for the team, striking at a rate of above 150. He recently played a blitzkreig knock of unbeaten 89 runs off just 47 balls against Mumbai Indians.
Varun Chakravarthy: He has been Kolkata Knight Riders' go-to bowler this season, leading the team with 19 dismissals in 13 matches. With an average of 20.58 and an economy rate of 8.03, he has been a consistent threat to opposition, especially at Eden Gardens.