Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) capped off their TATA Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 journey with a resounding 18-run win against the Mumbai Indians (MI) at the iconic Wankhede Stadium. The victory not only bolstered their spirits but also served as a dramatic farewell to their season, marked by fluctuating fortunes and standout performances.

The match began with MI winning the toss and opting to bowl first, a decision that welcomed a few strategic changes to their lineup. One notable inclusion was Arjun Tendulkar, who replaced the seasoned Jasprit Bumrah. LSG’s innings was a tale of two contrasting halves – the first 10 overs saw them grappling for momentum, thanks to disciplined bowling by MI. Wickets fell at regular intervals, putting early pressure on LSG’s batting lineup. The halfway mark saw LSG in a precarious position, and the responsibility to stabilize the innings fell on the shoulders of Nicholas Pooran and the set-pieces of KL Rahul.

Promotions in the batting order saw Devdutt Padikkal opening the innings. However, he was quickly trapped leg-before by Nuwan Thushara in the very first over. LSG attempted to capitalize on the powerplay, but it was Marcus Stoinis who initially found his rhythm, scoring 28 runs off 22 balls, adorned with five boundaries. However, his innings was cut short by Piyush Chawla, who claimed him leg-before on the final ball of the powerplay. Chawla continued to exert pressure, halting LSG’s progress and claiming another crucial wicket by inducing an edge off Deepak Hooda’s bat, caught by Nehal Wadhera at point. At the halfway juncture, LSG stood at a shaky 69 for three, with Pooran entering the fray.

Pooran’s cautious start – three dot balls initially – belied the explosive innings that followed. He rocketed to his 50 from just 19 balls, effectively reaching the milestone in a mere 16 valid deliveries. His shots were a spectacle, especially the horizontal bat strokes sending the ball soaring square off the wicket on both sides. The 13th over, bowled by MI, saw Pooran smashing two sixes, bringing 22 runs to the total.

Arjun Tendulkar, grappling with cramps, was tasked with the 15th over but faced a brutal onslaught from Pooran, who sent two deliveries over the leg-side ropes to notch his fifty. Tendulkar had to leave the field mid-over, forcing Naman Dhir to complete it.

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. Pooran greeted Dhir with a six and a four, making the over cost a hefty 29 runs. KL Rahul soon followed with a steady knock, reaching his fifty off 37 balls before being dismissed by Thushara in the same over that saw Pooran’s exit for a scintillating 75 off 29 balls.

With the impetus diminishing, LSG’s tail struggled to prolong the innings. Arshad Khan, having shown brilliance in previous matches, was promoted but fell on the first ball. KL Rahul’s departure soon after for 178 for six left LSG short of their 200-mark aspiration. It was Krunal Pandya and Ayush Badoni who, with timely boundaries, led LSG to a competitive 214.

MI’s response was spearheaded by Rohit Sharma and Dewald Brevis, with the latter opening in place of Ishan Kishan. The Sharma-Brevis duo forged an 88-run stand in just over eight overs, with Sharma’s blitz overshadowing Brevis. The MI captain’s fifty came off a mere 28 balls, punctuated by his usual aggressive Powerplay tactics. Brevis’s departure for 23, however, signaled a downturn for MI, giving LSG the opening they needed.

Suryakumar Yadav followed soon, bowing to the pressure applied by Krunal Pandya, who had already tightened the screws on MI’s scoring. The decisive blow landed when Rohit was dismissed for 68 by Ravi Bishnoi, caught at short third-man, further stalling MI’s chase.

MI’s middle and lower order struggled against an escalating required run-rate, leaving newcomers like Naman Dhir to take charge. Dhir fought valiantly, reaching his fifty in the match’s final over with a spirited six off Naveen-ul-Haq, but with 34 more needed, the task was insurmountable. MI concluded their innings at 196, with Dhir’s valiant effort – an unbeaten 62 off 28 balls – offering a silver lining.

LSG’s bowlers delivered a collective masterclass, particularly Krunal Pandya, whose economical spell of one for 29 in four overs was instrumental during the middle overs. Ravi Bishnoi’s two for 37 further choked MI’s scoring, cementing LSG’s dominance in the latter phases.

As the season concludes for LSG, this match stands as a testament to their resilient spirit and strategic plays.

By IPL Agent

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