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IPL 2023: Lucknow Super Giants Squad Analysis: Opening combination & bowling attack big pluses

IPL 2023: Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) Squad Analysis: Opening combination & bowling attack big pluses. Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) auction buys, injuries, strength, weakness and probable playing XI ahead of IPL 2023.

IPL 2022, LSG vs KKR, Top Performances_ Quinton de Kock, KL Rahul added 210 runs for opening stand against KKR _ Walking Wicket (Images ©BCCI_IPL)
de Kock, KL Rahul makes a fearsome opening pair (Images: ©IPL/Twitter)

The Lucknow-based franchise Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) put up a spirited performance in their debut IPL season back in 2022. In a relatively short timeline, the team qualified for the playoffs and finished third in the points table after valiantly going down against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Eliminator 2. They recorded a very commendable win percentage of 60 per cent in their inaugural IPL season winning a total of 9 out of 15 games played.

Impressive outing in IPL 2022 on the back of some good cricket

Besides, what was more impressive about their successful outing last year is the fact that they were able to compete aggressively with the most successful teams, i.e., past winners of the tournament like Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders who currently hold 5, 4 and 2 titles, respectively. These teams are yet to register a single win against LSG.

The skipper KL Rahul had a dream run last year and emerged as the highest run getter for his franchise scoring over 600 runs at a colossal average of 56. Furthermore, he was also lauded for his leadership abilities as he performed remarkably well to get his side close to a maiden IPL title. Quinton de Kock and Deepak Hooda also got their acts together and scored a combined 897 runs between them at a formidable average of 34.54. Quinton and KL Rahul together delivered a crucial match-winning performance against Kolkata Knight Riders on the May 18 fixture as the duo went ballistic and recorded the highest opening stand of 210 runs in the history of IPL. De Kock was eventually adjudged player of the match for his breathtaking knock of 140*(70). This emphatic win helped them earn a well-deserved place in the playoffs.

Their bowling department also flourished under the leadership of KL Rahul as Avesh Khan, Jason Holder and an uncapped Mohsin Khan bagged a combined tally of 45 wickets whilst averaging 21.07 only. Avesh Khan’s crucial spell of 3/16 on the May 7 fixture prevented Kolkata Knight Riders from sneaking through with a win where he dismissed a dangerous Andre Russell that ultimately triggered a batting collapse, handing LSG with a convincing win. However, chasing has been a sign of concern for the Lucknow-based franchise as they have fallen short time and again whilst chasing in the last season. Batters would get starts and later throw it away after a quick flurry of wickets. Furthermore, lack of partnerships from the middle order was also seen as a recurring pattern which lead to their demise on a number of occasions. This could be seen as a potential weak link which the teams can exploit as the IPL 2023 season unfolds.

LSG’s major buys in IPL 2023 mini-auction

LSG entered the auction with a very good purse of INR 23.35 crore. With that being said, the franchise roped in 10 players to their squad and made some of the biggest purchases in the mini auction.

  • Nicholas Pooran – The West Indies batting stalwart turned out to be the most expensive cricketer to be sold to LSG for a final price of INR 16 crore. Known for his flamboyant style of batting, Pooran has over 1400 T20I runs with a strike rate of just over 130.

  • Daniel Sams – Daniel Sams has an explosive strike rate of around 170.96 with the bat and has picked up 7 wickets so far in his 10 T20I matches.

  • Romario Shepherd – The West Indies all-rounder was purchased by LSG for an impressive amount of INR 50 Lakh. His T20I stats are impressive averaging 47.66 with the bat whilst maintaining a lethal strike rate of over 155. So far in his relatively short T20I career, he has picked up 22 wickets at a decent average of 34.45.

  • Jaydev Unadkat – Unadkat was picked up by LSG for a final price of INR 50 Lakh. Unadkat has a wealth of IPL experience under his belt and has bagged more than 90 wickets with an average of 30.53 whilst conceding runs at 8.79 RPO. He achieved his best bowling figures of 5/25 against the then Delhi Daredevils franchise in the 2013 IPL season.

  • Naveen-Ul-Haq - The Afghanistan quickie went to LSG for a final price of INR 50 Lakh. The 23-year-old has participated in various T20 leagues from around the world and is ready to leave his mark in his inaugural IPL season. As a bowler, Naveen has an impressive economy rate of 8.1 RPO and a jaw dropping strike rate of 15.3 in T20I cricket.

IPL 2022, LSG vs DC Top Performances_ Mohsin Khan appealing during his 4-fer against Delhi Capitals, Mohsin takes 4-16 _ Walking Wicket (Images ©BCCI_IPL)
Mohsin Khan's injury could be big blow for LSG (Images: ©IPL/Twitter)

Mohsin Khan injured

LSG have been hit by an injury scare ahead of the IPL 2023 season. An element of doubt looms over the participation of young fast bowler Mohsin Khan, who made his IPL debut last year. According to reports, Mohsin is currently nursing an injury and is likely to remain out for the major chunk of the upcoming IPL season. Mohsin experienced discomfort around his left shoulder and has not bowled since last year’s IPL. The coaching staff is closely monitoring his condition they and are making some serious efforts to strengthen his bowling shoulder ahead of the 2023 IPL season.

LSG Strengths

The biggest strength of the Lucknow Super Giants is their opening combination of KL Rahul and Quinton de Kock. Last year alone, the duo scored over 1100 runs together at an astounding average of 47. Besides, their ability to score at a brisk rate at the top of the order has also been a remarkable feature in their batting.

LSG have consolidated their middle order by securing the services of Nicholas Pooran, who along with Marcus Stoinis can really go ballistic during the middle overs. They’ve also got a lot of bowling all-rounders featuring the likes of Marcus Stoinis and Krunal Pandya who can be versatile with the bat and the ball depending on the nature of the wicket.

LSG have also got the services of in-form bowlers like Jaydev Unadkat and Avesh Khan who have had an exceptional record in IPL so far. Unadkat has around 91 IPL wickets, while Avesh Khan has been the most successful bowler for LSG last season picking up 17 wickets at an average of 22.52.

LSG Weaknesses

Before the commencement of IPL 2023 season, LSG camp has been rocked by some unfortunate injury news. Left-arm quick Mohsin Khan, who was a breakthrough star for Super Giants last season, is expected to miss the majority of IPL 2023 with a shoulder injury. And with the glaring absence of experienced Indian batters apart from KL Rahul and Hooda, batting order may become more fragile as the tournament continues to develop in the later stages.

How does LSG look overall

LSG have a strong top order in the form of KL Rahul and Quinton De Kock. With their top order secured, Super Giants have further expanded their all-round bowling options to tackle oppositions on a variety of wickets. A bunch of all-rounders like Krishnappa Gowtham, Deepak Hooda, Krunal Pandya, Romario Shepherd, Marcus Stoinis, Daniel Sams and Kyle Mayers give the Super Giants a lot of flexibility. Two of the seven bowl off-spin, one is a left-arm spinner, three are right-arm medium-pacers, and the other bowls left-arm pace.

They are equally destructive with the bat and can use the long handle very well if the situation calls for it. With that said, they have completely strengthened their spin and fast bowling departments ahead of the season. Moving on to the wicketkeeper options, LSG now have three in-form wicketkeepers featuring the likes of KL Rahul, Nicholas Pooran and Quinton De Kock. Their frontline attack consists of genuinely high-pace bowling options like Mark Wood, Naveen-Ul-Haq and Avesh Khan, aside from three left-arm seam options like Unadkat, Sams and Mohsin who may be in danger of missing the entire IPL 2023 season.

Probable XI: KL Rahul (C), Quinton De Kock (WK), Deepak Hooda, Nicholas Pooran, Marcus Stoinis, Ayush Badoni, Krunal Pandya, Ravi Bishnoi, Avesh Khan, Mark Wood, Jaydev Unadkat

LSG open their campaign against Delhi Capitals in Lucknow on April 1.


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