KL Rahul’s absence, changing batting combinations and more: How LSG wrote their own death sentence

Chasing 182 in a must-win game against the Mumbai Indians in the IPL 2023 Eliminator, only one batter for the Lucknow Super Giants crossed the 20-run mark. They allowed a five-for. They lost three wickets to comically embarrassing run-outs. Their last eight wickets fell for 32 runs.

LSG lost three wickets to run outs against MI. (IPL/BCCI)

Such has been the chaos in thinking at LSG, that the franchise used four different opening combinations in their last four games. Deepak Hooda, the player who opened the batting for LSG, when they defeated MI just eight days ago, batted at number seven on Thursday. For Lucknow’s abysmal performance in the IPL 2023 Eliminator on Wednesday, these and a few more factors are to blame.

As the IPL 2023 season comes to an end for Lucknow, here are the reasons for the team flattering to deceive:

KL Rahul’s lean patch and withdrawal

Regular skipper KL Rahul amassed 274 runs in the nine games he played before suffering a hamstring injury that forced him to withdraw from the tournament in the middle of it. Former Australia great Tom Moody also pointed out how his absence affected the side and said, “I think KL Rahul was a massive miss for LSG. This is the second time they have reached the playoffs so that in itself is a great achievement for a new team.”

lucknow super giants LSG abysmal performance in the IPL 2023 Eliminator on Wednesday, these and a few more factors are to blame. (BCCI/IPL)

“I think even though at the point that KL Rahul injured himself, you can just about guarantee that he would have scored three, if not more, half-centuries in the rest of the games and that was missing,” he said on ESPNCricinfo.

Lack of proper Indian batting line-up

The batting of LSG was mainly reliant on its international talents, including Kyle Mayers, Nicholas Pooran, and Marcus Stoinis. While the trio stepped up, the Indian hitters were unable to make a strong impression. Only Prerak Mankad and Ayush Badoni, in addition to Rahul, were Indian batsmen this season to reach the fifty-run mark. They each scored one. They suffered significantly from the failures of stand-in skipper Krunal Pandya (188 runs) and Deepak Hooda (84 runs).

The De Kock dilemma

Proteas star Quinton De Kock served as Lucknow’s bench warmer for the most part. Prior to entering the IPL, the wicketkeeper batsman had a respectable track record for his national team. However, despite his brilliant form he was only brought in the XI after an injury ruled KL Rahul out of the tournament, after which the wicketkeeper opened the innings with Mayers.

AP23127448264799 Lucknow Super Giants’ Quinton de Kock plays a shot during the Indian Premier League cricket match. (AP Photo)

The team was forced to depend on Indian quicks, which didn’t work out for them because Pooran and Stoinis were showing to be valuable middle-order players. Other than this, LSG could’ve also used his captaincy services in KL’s absence.

Bowlers lose direction away from home

At home, LSG consistently switched between the red-soiled and black-soiled wickets whilst utilising all of their bowlers. Their first game wicket at the Ekana favoured bounce resulting in Mark Wood taking a fifer. Their spinners were spot on when spin-friendly surfaces were subsequently set up. But when they weren’t at home, the bowlers lacked direction. And when it got to Chepauk, their spinners were unable to take advantage of the conditions as CSK and MI slower bowlers did on the same field.

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