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IPL 2023: LSG reached playoffs but performance lacked teeth

IPL 2023: Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) reached playoffs but performance lacked teeth. LSG made back-to-back playoffs in IPL. LSG lost to MI in IPL 2023 Eliminator.

In KL Rahul's absence Krunal Pandya is given LSG's captaincy_ Walking wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
In Rahul's absence Krunal was given LSG's captaincy (Images: ©IPL/Twitter)

Lucknow Super Giants' road to the 2023 IPL final came to a close on May 24 as they crashed out to 5-time IPL champions, MI by a colossal margin of 81 runs. After defeating KKR in a last-ball thriller, one hoped LSG to be battle-hardened and put up a stiff fight. But what followed was a horror show with the bat that led to their dismal departure from this year’s IPL tournament.

Overall, the Lucknow-based franchise endured a very scratchy season which had its moments of highs and lows. They finished third in the points table with 8 wins out of 14 matches. With the 16th edition of the IPL out of the way, let us perform a deep dive analysis of what went wrong for the Lucknow-based franchise and also look at some of the strong points that stood out for them this season.

IPL 2023, PBKS vs LSG, Top Performances_ Marcus Stoinis' 72 off 40 balls guide LSG to beat PBKS in Mohali _ Walking wicket (Images_ ©IPL_Twitter)
Stoinis scored 408 runs from 15 games in IPL 2023 (Images: ©IPL/Twitter)
Over-dependence on trio of Mayers, Stoinis and Pooran

Kyle Mayers, Marcus Stoinis and Nicholas Pooran were the three musketeers for the Men in Blue and Gold. The trio looked in very explosive touch throughout the season and did a lot of heavy lifting at the top of the order. Mayers made his presence felt in his debut IPL season ending his campaign with 379 runs to his name at an average of 29.15. His strike rate was also on the higher side and played some very useful cameos to push his side to convincing victories.

Stoinis was LSG’s go-to man who delivered both with the bat and the ball when it mattered the most. The explosive Aussie all-rounder scored 408 runs from 15 games at an exhilarating strike rate of 150 and bagged three Player of the Match awards for his scintillating all-round performances.

Nicholas Pooran played some breathtaking knocks too and piled up 358 runs in 15 innings at a jaw-dropping strike rate of 172.95. The LSG team management got their money's worth as the West Indian batting stalwart delivered some crucial match-winning performances for his side, most notably against RCB, PBKS and SRH.

But what led to their downfall was their over-dependence on these three batters. Apart from them, LSG had no reliable batter who could go on to play the match-defining innings. Poor performances from Prerak Mankad, Ayush Badoni, Deepak Hooda and Krishnappa Gowtham really haunted them big time as LSG failed to chase on several instances.

Besides, the injury of LSG skipper KL Rahul also did not help their cause as it negatively impacted the team’s momentum. And finally, the omission of Quinton de Kock has baffled many cricketing experts from around the world. De Kock was not given ample opportunities and could only manage to play 4 games. Someone with an average and strike rate of over 30 and 130 respectively, the South African wicketkeeper-batter deserved more games under his belt. LSG think tank surely lost the plot by not including in-form De Kock in most of the matches. His contributions could have seriously turned things around for the Lucknow-based franchise this season.

IPL 2023, SRH vs MI, Top Performances_ Avesh Khan's 3-25 helps LSG beat RR _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©IPL_Twitter)
Avesh had poor season with the ball; 8 wickets from 9 games (Images: ©IPL/Twitter)
Inconsistent returns from bowlers hurt LSG

Moving on to their bowling department, the LSG bowling lineup had several promising youngsters. However, unlike Krunal Pandya and Mark Wood, many of them were highly inexperienced with insufficient match experience under their belt. Ravi Bishnoi was reasonably good picking up 16 wickets at an economy of 7.74 RPO. But he was used more or less as a containing option to stem the flow of runs.

Naveen-Ul-Haq dominated the headlines throughout the season for his infamous altercation with Kohli but he did quite well with the ball picking up 11 wickets in 7 innings at an astounding average of 19.91. Mohsin Khan and Avesh Khan kept struggling with injury concerns throughout the season. Although Mohsin delivered a match-winning spell against MI to lift his side to a thumping last-over victory, Avesh had no significant achievements to his name as he proved to be a very expensive bowler for his side.

Experienced Mark Wood made an impressive start to the season picking up 5/14 in LSG’s opening game obliterating DC’s batting lineup into pieces. However, he became irregularly utilised after the first game as not much was seen of him since then. His addition could have really strengthened an impoverished fast-bowling battery of LSG which visibly lacked experience. The team management certainly missed a trick by not including him for the remaining games as his experience could have brought about a significant change in fortune for LSG.

All in all, a handful number of positive and negative takeaways have emerged for LSG this season. The team management will need to work extensively to address their batting woes and keep an eye on emerging talent that can perform on a consistent basis. And as far as their bowling is concerned, LSG will need to rope in some more experienced faces who can not only win matches for them but also guide the youngsters who could one day spearhead the LSG bowling attack.


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