Lucknow Super Giants’ overseas batters Kyle Mayers (54, 24b, 7×4, 4×6), Marcus Stoinis (72, 40b, 6×4, 5×6) and Nicholas Pooran (45, 19b, 7×4, 1×6) put on a sensational exhibition of T20 batting to catapult their side to a mammoth 257 for five against Punjab Kings at the I.S. Bindra Stadium on Friday.
Super Giants’ total was just six short of the highest-ever score in the IPL (263 for five, RCB vs Pune Warriors, 2013) as it defeated the hosts by a comprehensive margin of 56 runs.
Asked to take strike on a belter of a pitch for the batters, Super Giants got off to a rollicking start with Mayers smashing the Kings bowlers to all parts of the ground as 74 came in the PowerPlay.
Ayush Badoni (43, 24b, 3×4, 3×6) and Stoinis ensured that Super Giants didn’t lose momentum, adding 89 off 47 balls for the third wicket.
Then Pooran’s finishing prowess came to the fore as he began with three successive fours through covers off Liam Livingstone and played some power-packed shots down the ground.
In reply, Punjab started poorly, as it lost its openers cheaply, with skipper Shikhar Dhawan dismissed in the first over. Only Atharva Taide put up a valiant fight slamming 66 (36b, 8×4, 2×6) in a knock mixed with beautiful shots square of the wicket on the off-side alongside scoops and reverse sweeps.
Taide and Sikandar Raza (36) added 78 for the third wicket, but once they got out, the chase fizzled.
It was also perplexing to see the Kings think-thank not use its big hitters like Liam Livingstone and Sam Curran ahead of Raza.
For LSG, pacers Yash Thakur (four for 37) and Naveen-ul-Haq (three for 30) shared seven wickets, while leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi took the crucial wickets of Taide and Livingstone.
Before this contest, Super Giants had come under criticism for their conservative approach after botching the chase of 136 in their previous game against Gujarat Titans after being 106 for one at one stage.
On Friday, there was a dramatic shift in the approach of K.L. Rahul’s men. Mayers wasted no time going after the bowlers as he slammed Arshdeep Singh for four boundaries in the second over. After a square-drive and a pull, Mayers hit one past Arshdeep, forcing the bowler to take evasive action. It was a sign of things to come for the Kings bowlers.
In the next over, the West Indian went after debutant Gurnoor Brar, hitting the young pacer for a six and four over midwicket before going after off-spinner Sikandar Raza. The left-hander raced to his half-century off just 19 balls, lofting Kagiso Rabada down the ground for a six.
After Mayers’ dismissal, Stoinis kept the finding boundaries at will as he often shuffled across the crease to target the leg-side fence. Along with Pooran, the Australian forged a 76-run alliance off 30 balls for the fourth wicket to help the Super Giants post a big win and move to second place in the standings.
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