LSG's big win

Entertaining Rahul sets up LSG’s major victory

CSK finished second in Lucknow despite yet another captivating appearance from MS Dhoni, who this time helped CSK to a respectable total on a sticky pitch. That result was mostly down to KL Rahul, who crushed an excellent 53 balls in the chase. Quinton de Kock contributed runs as well, but CSK was unable to take wickets and lost the match in 19 overs.

shaky beginning, delayed development for CSK

Once again sent to open the innings, Ajinkya Rahane began with a traditional backfoot punch through point on the second ball, but this was a PowerPlay when the holders had difficulty making runs. Rachin Ravindra’s poor run came to five games when, attempting a wild swipe at the ball, Mohsin Khan cleaned him up on the opening ball of the second over.

The ball didn’t quite come on to the bat for the hitters to simply hit over the line, despite LSG using pace the entire PowerPlay. In the fifth over, Yash Thakur came to replace Ruturaj Gaikwad, scoring 17 off 13.

Perhaps in an effort to manage the pace in the PowerPlay before they could unleash Shivam Dube on the middle-of-the-stump spinners, CSK elevated Ravindra Jadeja. Rahane hit a few boundaries off Ravi Bishnoi, but in the ninth over, Krunal Pandya thoroughly destroyed him, resulting in a 24-ball 36. Rahane was dismissed by the left-arm spinner in the IPL for the fourth time in 52 deliveries. When Shivam Dube arrived, everyone expected him to score quickly against the spinners, but they ended up tying him down with balls that were hitting close to 100 mph. He was unable to get off to a fast start as he had done in the past this season, as he only scored three runs off of his first seven balls, all of which came from spinners.

Rahul resumed his fast pace and even made use of Marcus Stoinis on the sticky surface, which paid off right away. The Australian, who hasn’t bowled much this year, gave Dube a short ball for the first ball. Rahul grabbed the clumsy CSK batter who had pulled. As an impact replacement, CSK turned to Sameer Rizvi, but he was sent off Krunal after just five balls.

Throughout the middle overs, when CSK was scoring at a pitiful 6.2 per over, Rahul had perfected his management of his bowlers.

Turnaround with Dhoni and the death-overs

The 42-year-old continued his routine of leaving and captivating an already enthralled audience with his six-hitting. However, Jadeja and Moeen Ali laid the groundwork for the flourish even before he emerged to an overwhelming clamour. Before Moeen hit a hat-trick of sixes off Bishnoi in the 17th over to get CSK closer to 150, Jadeja hit Mohsin for a six to get his fifty. After a 20-ball cameo worth 30 runs, Moeen left the pitch, and Dhoni went the opposite way to put on an even more impressive display. His hallmark shots, which extended to 101 metres, were evident in his 9-ball 28. Even his shuffle-across and scoop shot over the keeper’s head was an unplanned move by Dhoni. Although his efforts helped CSK reach 176/6, it ultimately turned out to be relatively insufficient.

Quinton de Kock and Rahul exacerbate CSK’s PowerPlay problems.

Deepak Chahar has been essentially ineffectual this season due to the white-ball not swinging enough in any locations. Even though he returned for this match to replace Shardul Thakur, he was unable to create the necessary early momentum to put the home team under pressure. Rather, by the end of the six overs, in which they amassed 54 runs, Rahul and de Kock had scored freely enough to dwarf the asking rate. In the PowerPlay, CSK continued to provide average results with the ball (7 wickets at an economy rate of 9.47). Not even the thrifty Tushar Deshpande this season could escape a dismissal.

Comfortable middle overs for LSG

Beyond the pitch, nothing altered from the seventh over onward. The LSG openers welcomed CSK’s golden goose, Matheesha Pathirana, with a 12-run over, but he failed to translate his knack of getting wickets into the middle overs. After easily leading LSG to 89/0 at the midway point, the two pursued Jadeja to quicken the pace of play. Rahul passed 50 points by cutting one off of Jadeja, and de Kock also increased the pace at which he scored. With a cunning shift of tempo, Mustafizur Rahman tried to get through, but he too ran into a wall. The opening stand between Rahul and de Kock reached 100 runs, the greatest for any wicket at the ground. Before misfiring on a pull effort from Mustafizur to Dhoni behind the stumps, De Kock too reached fifty runs.

The same thing at the end

With an over remaining, LSG completed the chase, therefore that wicket and the one that Rahul took after were only consolation prizes. Rahul appeared to be on course to record a century to finish off the victory, but Ravindra Jadeja pulled off a one-handed masterstroke at backward point to catch the LSG captain 18 short. However, Nicholas Pooran had already set LSG up for success by walking out swinging for the fences and securing the two points before this could occur.

Deshpande struck the final ball of the penultimate over, and the West Indian pulled away to score an over point, bringing a highly competitive victory to a close.

Brief Scores: Lucknow Super Giants 180/2 in 19 overs (KL Rahul 82, Quinton de Kock 54, Nicholas Pooran 23) defeated Chennai Super Kings 176/6 in 20 overs (Ravindra Jadeja 57, Moeen Ali 30, MS Dhoni 28*; Krunal Pandya 2-16) by 8 wickets.

What comes next?

On Tuesday, April 23, they cross paths with one another once more, this time in Chennai.