Nicholas Pooran, Krunal Pandya Keep LSG In Play-Off Hunt
LSG now have 13 points from 12 games and are now in fourth spot behind Gujarat Titans (16 points), CSK (15 points) and Mumbai Indians (14 points).
Nicholas Pooran justified his Rs 16 crore billing, pulling off what looked like a difficult chase on a tacky track as Lucknow Super Giants were back in play-off hunt with a seven-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in an Indian Premier League match in Hyderabad on Saturday. A target of 183 was certainly not an easy proposition on a track that got slower as the match progressed. However, Pooran (44 not out ff 13 balls), with assistance from domestic bulwark Prerak Mankad (64 not out, 45 balls) and Marcus Stoinis (40 off 25 balls), helped LSG get past the target with four balls to spare.
LSG now have 13 points from 12 games and are now in fourth spot behind Gujarat Titans (16 points), CSK (15 points) and Mumbai Indians (14 points). However, they will have to win their next two games to have an assured berth in the last four stage.
As far as SRH are concerned, another tournament of non-performance is coming to an end with a below-par show.
Till the 15th over, SRH controlled the proceedings as LSG crawled to 114 for 2, needing 68 more from six overs.
Stoinis thumped him for two maximums before being holed out at deep extra cover boundary. But Pooran came in and hit two 100m-plus sixes and one straight to completely change the equation.
Credit should be given to Saurashtra's Mankad, who struggled to get going during the middle overs. But a pep-talk from mentor Gautam Gambhir during strategic time-out saw a sea-change in his approach as he showed more intent, hitting a straight six off T Natarajan.
Not known as a big turner of the ball, LSG skipper Krunal (2/24 in 4 overs) bowled two identical classical left-arm orthodox deliveries, which had drift as well as enough turn to hoodwink Sunrisers skipper Aiden Markram (28 off 20 balls) and Glenn Phillips (0).
In case of Markram, Krunal drew him forward before the ball beat his outside edge to get stumped.
And the same delivery, pitched on same length found Phillips going on back-foot to see it deviate past his bat and peg the off-stump back. That the ball gripped a bit on both occasions also helped the bowler's cause.
However, Heinrich Klaasen (47 off 29 balls), inarguably SRH's best batter, was in his natural attacking self as his three fours and an equal number of sixes took his team to a respectable total.
The difference between Krunal and leg-spinners Amit Mishra (1/40 in 4 overs) and Ravi Bishnoi (0/23 in 2 overs) was the optimum pace in his deliveries.
In case of Bishnoi, he ended up bowling half-trackers while trying to bowl fast. When Mishra bowled, it didn't help as he is much slower through the air compared to his younger days. Hence, the batters got enough time to plan their shots.
Once Krunal's wickets reduced SRH to 115 for 5, Klaasen took it upon himself and got support from Abdul Samad (37 not out off 25 balls) as the duo added 58 in 6.4 overs to take the score past 175-run mark.
Towards the end of the SRH innings, the match was briefly stopped when third umpire withheld the on-field umpire's decision of ruling an Avesh Khan full-toss as a fair delivery when it looked a no-ball.
That agitated the crowd which must have disturbed the LSG dug-out to briefly halt proceedings and Klaasen lost his concentration to miss out on a well-deserved half-ton.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)