RESULT
42nd Match (N), Pune, April 29, 2022, Indian Premier League
(20 ov, T:154) 133/8

Super Giants won by 20 runs

Preview

Best friends reunite as Rahul's Super Giants face off against Agarwal's Punjab Kings

It's the first time the two sides match up in IPL 2022

Hemant Brar
Hemant Brar
28-Apr-2022

Big picture

For how long do you trust a high-risk process if it doesn't produce high rewards? Punjab Kings face that question as IPL 2022 moves into the second half.
Even before they got up from the auction table in February, it was clear how they would approach the season: Go hard or go home. But with four wins and four losses after eight matches, they are currently in the bottom half of the table.
In the last couple of games, they made tweaks to their XI and approach to find the optimum point where they can operate. Against Delhi Capitals, they picked five frontline bowlers but were bundled out for 115. In their next game, against Chennai Super Kings, despite going back to an allrounder at No. 7, their batters didn't unleash an all-out attack. They teed off but not recklessly - to borrow a phrase used by the late Shane Warne - and posted a match-winning 187 for 4. Kings' batting consultant Julian Wood has also talked about being "aggressively smart". So is this the approach we will see from them in the upcoming matches?
On Friday, Kings will be up against Lucknow Super Giants, who are currently fourth with ten points from eight games. A side brimming with allrounders, Super Giants are showing there are many ways to ace this format. With the likes of Jason Holder, Marcus Stoinis, Krunal Pandya and Deepak Hooda in the XI, they have depth in batting as well as bowling.
The main architect of their success, though, has been captain KL Rahul. With 368 runs, Rahul is the second-highest run-getter this season. More importantly, those runs have come at a strike rate of 147.79. Quinton de Kock, Super Giants' next best batter, is 143 runs behind, which also shows Rahul alone has been doing the hard yards - something that could come to haunt him against his former team.

In the news

There has been no update on the availability of Avesh Khan, who missed Super Giants' last game with what captain Rahul described as a "small niggle". If fit, Avesh should replace Mohsin Khan in the XI.

Likely XIs

Lucknow Super Giants 1 KL Rahul (capt), 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Manish Pandey, 4 Marcus Stoinis, 5 Deepak Hooda, 6 Krunal Pandya, 7 Ayush Badoni, 8 Jason Holder, 9 Dushmantha Chameera, 10 Ravi Bishnoi, 11 Avesh Khan/Mohsin Khan
Punjab Kings 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Mayank Agarwal (capt), 3 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 4 Liam Livingstone, 5 Jonny Bairstow, 6 Jitesh Sharma (wk), 7 Rishi Dhawan, 8 Kagiso Rabada, 9 Rahul Chahar, 10 Arshdeep Singh, 11 Sandeep Sharma

Strategy punts

  • If Kings want someone to play more of an anchor's role, Shikhar Dhawan could be that batter. Super Giants, though, can counter that move somewhat with Dushmantha Chameera. Chameera has dismissed Shikhar twice in 25 balls while conceding only 30 runs.
  • In the middle overs, Super Giants can keep Shikhar quiet by pairing him against Pandya. Even though Pandya turns the ball in to Dhawan, the batter has managed only 29 runs off 26 balls against him. On the other hand, Shikhar has taken Ravi Bishnoi, a legspinner who mostly bowls sliders and googlies, for 36 runs off 19 balls. Neither spinner, though, has dismissed him so far in T20 cricket.
  • Manish Pandey has been struggling for runs. In six innings this season, he has scored only 88 runs at a strike rate of 110. Super Giants have a couple of options in front of them. They can replace him with Manan Vohra, who can bat at No. 3. Or they can even bring in K Gowtham and move Ayush Badoni up the order.
  • Stats that matter

    • Rahul is one of only three batters to have struck at more than 145 against both pace and spin (minimum 100 runs against each type). Jos Buttler and David Miller are the other two.
    • Against Kagiso Rabada, de Kock has scored 89 runs off 61 balls without any dismissal, but Arshdeep Singh has got him out twice in 14 balls while giving away only 14 runs.
    • Among those who have bowled at least five death overs this season, Arshdeep has the best economy (5.66).
    • Rahul has scored only 36 runs off 35 balls against Rahul Chahar with one dismissal but Stoinis has taken the legspinner apart, plundering 32 runs off 12 balls without getting out.
    • Out of eight, Kings have lost seven tosses in this season.
    • Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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