IPL: LSG ready for PBKS challenge

It will be a clash of titans when Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) and Punjab Kings (PBKS), two teams hungry for redemption after their recent defeats, battle it out in Match 11 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium here on Saturday. Lucknow Super Giants, led by the dynamic duo of KL Rahul and Quinton de Kock at the top, are determined to shake off the disappointment of their opening match defeat. With the likes of Devdutt Padikkal, Marcus Stoinis, and Nicholas Pooran forming a formidable middle order, they aimed to set the stadium ablaze with their power-packed batting display. Nicholas Pooran’s 63 and K.L. Rahul’s 58 went in vain after Rajasthan Royals (RR) defeated Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) by 20 runs in the fourth match of the IPL. It seems like LSG has a challenging task ahead, especially with their bowling unit struggling to contain the opposition. With key players like Mark Wood and David Willey absent, the pace battery faces a daunting task. Ravi Bishnoi’s lacklustre performance adds to their concerns. However, skipper Rahul’s resilient knock and the middle-order firepower offer them some hope. Quinton de Kock’s return to form will be crucial, along with Marcus Stoinis’s performance. LSG’s new head coach Justin Langer expressed his satisfaction at helping his squad “get a bit of rust out” and his eagerness to take advantage of home-ground advantage. On paper, LSG’s pace stocks are superior to those of Kings’, but Langer stated the night before the game that they will hold off on unleashing Shamar Joseph in this league. Regarding Joseph, Langer remarked, “I love his spirit and athleticism but he’s still very young. He’s pushing hard for selection but I don’t think he’ll play tomorrow though, said Langer. The head coach continued, “LSG will decide a final XI on Saturday, but they have traditionally played three overseas batters and one foreign bowler, which has brought them success.” On the