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LSG enjoys maximizing a rare day of bowling.

LSG enjoys maximizing a rare day of bowling.

Marcus Stoinis’s role at Lucknow Super Giants has seen significant changes this season. Transitioning from a finisher to the designated No.3, he was unexpectedly handed the new ball in the opening over by KL Rahul during Tuesday’s match. Rahul went a step further, having Stoinis bowl half of the PowerPlay, a responsibility even Stoinis hadn’t anticipated. However, this Tuesday wasn’t ordinary; it was a pivotal moment in this IPL season.

When Mumbai Indians’ openers faced the challenge after losing the toss, they found themselves without the usual advantages they enjoyed at other venues. The Ekana stadium, with its expansive playing area, and the centrally located pitch for Tuesday’s fixture denied them the shorter square boundary they often exploit.

Taking inspiration from Rajasthan Royals’ tactics, LSG aimed to strike early and put MI on the back foot. The conditions favored their strategy, evident when Mohsin Khan employed a slower delivery as early as the fourth over. Unlike other venues this season, where batters could gauge variations quickly, the conditions in Lucknow posed challenges. Mohsin’s varied deliveries, mixing length cutters with a rapid yorker, frustrated Ishan Kishan and Tilak Varma. Even when Tilak managed to predict Stoinis’s short ball and hit a four, MI struggled to capitalize further in the over.

The return of Naveen-Ul-Haq bolstered the bowling attack, which had disappointed in the previous match against Rajasthan Royals. Naveen’s crafty bowling, angling in towards Hardik Pandya from wide off the crease and inducing an outside edge, resulted in Pandya’s first-ball dismissal, leaving MI at 28 for 4 – their second-worst PowerPlay score of the season.

Ishan and Nehal Wadhera faced further challenges from Mayank Yadav, whose express pace unsettled Wadhera. A bumper struck Wadhera on the helmet, and Yadav’s pace reached 152.8kmph, leaving Wadhera struggling to connect with the ball. Even when attempting to counter slower deliveries from other bowlers, Wadhera couldn’t find his rhythm and lost his shape.

Marcus Stoinis’s role at Lucknow Super Giants has seen significant changes this season. Transitioning from a finisher to the designated No.3, he was unexpectedly handed the new ball in the opening over by KL Rahul during Tuesday’s match. Rahul went a step further, having Stoinis bowl half of the PowerPlay, a responsibility even Stoinis hadn’t anticipated. However, this Tuesday wasn’t ordinary; it was a pivotal moment in this IPL season.

When Mumbai Indians’ openers faced the challenge after losing the toss, they found themselves without the usual advantages they enjoyed at other venues. The Ekana stadium, with its expansive playing area, and the centrally located pitch for Tuesday’s fixture denied them the shorter square boundary they often exploit.

Taking inspiration from Rajasthan Royals’ tactics, LSG aimed to strike early and put MI on the back foot. The conditions favored their strategy, evident when Mohsin Khan employed a slower delivery as early as the fourth over. Unlike other venues this season, where batters could gauge variations quickly, the conditions in Lucknow posed challenges. Mohsin’s varied deliveries, mixing length cutters with a rapid yorker, frustrated Ishan Kishan and Tilak Varma. Even when Tilak managed to predict Stoinis’s short ball and hit a four, MI struggled to capitalize further in the over.

The return of Naveen-Ul-Haq bolstered the bowling attack, which had disappointed in the previous match against Rajasthan Royals. Naveen’s crafty bowling, angling in towards Hardik Pandya from wide off the crease and inducing an outside edge, resulted in Pandya’s first-ball dismissal, leaving MI at 28 for 4 – their second-worst PowerPlay score of the season.

Ishan and Nehal Wadhera faced further challenges from Mayank Yadav, whose express pace unsettled Wadhera. A bumper struck Wadhera on the helmet, and Yadav’s pace reached 152.8kmph, leaving Wadhera struggling to connect with the ball. Even when attempting to counter slower deliveries from other bowlers, Wadhera couldn’t find his rhythm and lost his shape.

Despite shaky starts this season, most teams have managed to turn the tide by scoring close to 10 runs an over for the remainder of the innings. LSG showcased this just two days ago against RR. However, MI found themselves in a dire situation, unable to attempt such a turnaround. KL Rahul exacerbated their troubles by relying on match-ups once again. Just as he held back Ravi Bishnoi against RR until the death overs, he refrained from using Krunal Pandya against two left-handers – Wadhera and Kishan – on Tuesday. Rahul’s commitment to a data-driven narrative paid off as Kishan and Wadhera struggled through the middle overs.

“If the conditions favored us and our match-up was favorable, we could have taken a chance,” Wadhera later admitted.

Rahul turned to Deepak Hooda’s off-spin instead, slotting in two overs around Ravi Bishnoi without conceding too much. Bishnoi utilized a plethora of googlies to trouble the batters, generating substantial turn that eventually broke the partnership. “Their slower deliveries weren’t easy to handle. The pace at which Ravi Bishnoi was bowling, his deliveries were turning more than expected,” remarked Wadhera.

A late onslaught from Tim David (35 off 18) kept MI hopeful of staging a remarkable comeback, but Marcus Stoinis dashed their hopes with another significant contribution. However, MI’s faint chances flickered again past 11 pm as Ashton Turner fell victim to Gerald Coetzee. With the equation reading 22 off 17, it felt like a surreal moment in this season, making the batting team sweat momentarily. A fortunate inside edge four for Nicholas Pooran marked the end of MI’s late surge.

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