It was not a barrage of fours and sixes, but a pocketful of wickets that got fans in Lucknow to their feet while screaming their lungs out.
Lucknow has not prepared batting-friendly tracks right through this tournament and on Monday, the pitch once again assisted bowlers. And spinners and seamers from both franchises impressed.
First it was the home team Lucknow Super Giants bowlers who kept RCB’s big runs in check.
Opting to bat first, RCB got off to a good start with captain Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli putting on a 62-run stand at the top of the order. But playing spin bowlers was a task with the ball turning and gripping and any attempt at big shots landing in the hands of the fielders.
Once again it was Ravi Bishnoi who got the first breakthrough with the wicket of Virat Kohli and later bagged the other big fish, Glenn Maxwell.
After the fall of Kohli, LSG bowlers kept it tight with the likes of du Plessis, Anuj Rawat and Suyash Prabhudessai only managing singles and twos, with seven overs producing no boundaries.
Naveen-ul-Haq finished with a three-wicket haul but it was the ever deceptive Ravi Bishnoi and veteran Amit Mishra who took two wickets apiece but were also frugal in giving away runs.
Chasing 128 for victory, RCB needed to get quick wickets and keep the momentum of the match on their side.
And that is exactly what they did by having LSG on the back foot, with four players back in the dug out as early as the Powerplay.
Spinners Karn Sharma and Wanindu Hasaranga kept a lid on the scoring and even though Krishnappa Gowtham and Marcus Stoinis threatened to rally, they were soon handed a reality check.
Karn broke the 27-run stand when he had Stoinis caught in the deep and Gowtham’s desperation to take strike found him short of his crease and run out for 23.
Thereafter, Mahipal Lomror (with the wicket of Bishnoi for 5), Hasaranga, Siraj, Impact sub Harshal Patel and Josh Hazlewood bowled with absolute accuracy to take advantage of the conditions and take home their team to a 18-run win.
After bagging two crucial points, captain du Plessis was all praise for his bowlers.
“I am super happy for Karn (2 for 20). One of those guys who does the hard work all the time but does not get the recognition. Playing at Chinnaswamy is tough for a leg-spinner. Unbelievable from him tonight.
“We have missed Hazlewood’s (2 for 15) experience. Someone like him brings so much calmness and composure. Nice way to ease him into the competition,” he said.
- IPL 2023
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