The 21st match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 will be played between Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) and Punjab Kings (PBKS) on Saturday, April 15 at Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow.
Lucknow Super Giants have had a dream start to the tournament, winning three out of their four matches played so far. With six points in their account, they are currently placed second on the points table. The Super Giants have been on a winning spree, having won their previous two matches. They will be looking to carry on the same form and secure a hat-trick of victories at their home turf.
However, heading into this game, the Super Giants are also grappling with a selection dilemma - where to place Quinton De Kock in the playing XI. With Kyle Mayers performing well in the first two matches, and Marcus Stoinis, and Nicholas Pooran, delivering match-winning performances in the previous game, the team management will have their work cut out for them.
The form of the team captain KL Rahul is another area of concern for the team. He has struggled to find his footing in the tournament so far and has not been able to score runs. Despite this, the team has been able to win matches without his contributions, which is a positive sign if looking at a bigger picture. Rahul, meanwhile, will be keen to find his form and start contributing with the bat.
Punjab Kings, on the other hand, have been struggling in recent matches, and their last game was no exception. While they started the tournament with two wins, they have since suffered two defeats that were hard to digest. As they prepare to face the Super Giants, the Shikhar Dhawan-led side will be hoping to get back to winning track and make a statement.
However, to get the better of Lucknow in this match, there are several areas that Punjab Kings need to work on. Firstly, they need to improve their batting performance as a unit. While Captain Shikhar Dhawan has been leading by example with the bat, the rest of the team needs to step up and contribute.
Secondly, they need to select the right playing XI, especially considering that the pitch at Ekana is spinner-friendly. They cannot afford to rely solely on their pacers, so they need to make the right choices in terms of their bowling attack. To sum up, this T20 fixture is poised to be an entertaining one between the two star-studded sides.
Probable Playing XIs
Lucknow Super Giants:
KL Rahul (c), Quinton de Kock/Kyle Mayers, Deepak Hooda, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Krunal Pandya, Ayush Badoni, Ravi Bishnoi, Mark Wood, Avesh Khan, Amit Mishra
Shikhar Dhawan (c), Prabhsimran Singh, Matt Short, Jitesh Sharma (c), Shahrukh Khan, Sam Curran, Harpreet Brar, Sikandar Raza, Kagiso Rabada, Rahul Chahar, Arshdeep Singh
The pitch at Ekana Stadium has typically been on the slower side, favouring spinners over pacers. This trend is expected to continue in this match. Lucknow Super Giants have a stronger spin attack, giving them an advantage over Punjab Kings. Both teams are likely to rely heavily on their spinners in this game.
Pitch Stats [IPL 2023]
Average 1st innings total: 157
Average 2nd innings total: 135
Matches won by the team batting 1st: 1
Matches won by the team batting 2nd: 1
These two teams have a limited head-to-head history, having played only once before. In that match, Lucknow Super Giants secured a 20-run victory over Punjab Kings.
KL Rahul vs Kagiso Rabada
Shikhar Dhawan vs Ravi Bishnoi
Shikhar Dhawan vs Amit Mishra:
Shikhar Dhawan vs Mark Wood (T20Is):
Nicholas Pooran vs Kagiso Rabada:
Marcus Stoinis vs Rahul Chahar:
Top Fantasy Picks
Lucknow Super Giants' investment in West Indies wicket-keeper-batter Nicholas Pooran has paid off in a big way. Pooran has been in scintillating form recently, as evidenced by his match-winning performance in the last match against Royal Challengers Bangalore, where he scored 62 runs off just 19 balls. So far this season, Pooran has scored 141 runs at an average of 47, with a staggering strike rate of 220.
Currently leading the run charts in the tournament with 233 runs in 4 games, Shikhar Dhawan has been in sublime form with the bat. His ability to play spin well will be a key for the Punjab Kings in this upcoming game, given the conditions that favour spin bowling.
One thing that all cricket fans, including myself and you, are eagerly waiting for in the IPL is KL Rahul getting back into his old form, where he used to dominate bowlers and hit the ball out of the park.
So far this season, it has been forgettable for him, as he has struggled to find his form, having managed to score 81 runs in four matches at a strike rate of 100 and an average of 20.25. Hopefully, in the upcoming match, we will see him regain his confidence and score big.
Though his wicket-taking numbers don't reflect his impact on the game, Bishnoi has been consistently performing well, having taken six wickets in the last five matches at an economy rate of 7.13. Given the spin-friendly conditions, Bishnoi has the potential to be a game-changer for his team in this match.
Fantasy Team Suggestion