LSG vs GT, IPL 2022 Preview: Early playoffs berth on the line for table-toppers – Firstcricket News, Firstpost
An early IPL 2022 playoffs berth will be on the line as table-toppers Lucknow Supergiants and Gujarat Titans, locked at No.1 and No.2 with 16 points each, lock horns in what promises to be a high-octane clash. Before the 2022 edition got underway, not many would have expected the new teams to dominate the way they have, and heavyweights Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings to struggle and occupy the bottom half of the table. With traffic only increasing in the middle half of the table, both Lucknow and Gujarat units would look to seal the deal before the scenarios become tighter.
Hardik Pandya: Hardik Pandya has been in top touch with the bat. Having scored 333 runs in 10 games he has played, Pandya has been the mainstay of Gujarat’s batting and the solid hand in the middle-order. Hardik the bowler, however, has been missing in action ever since an injury made him miss a fixture. The all-rounder himself is not looking to rush into bowling considering the packed India calendar ahead and is expected to play safe, at least in the league stages. Gujarat’s bowling depth and available options have kind of allowed him that extra cushion. No doubt Gujarat are missing his skills in the powerplay overs and at the death, but the others, led by Mohammed Shami, have done a more than decent job so far.
Quinton de Kock: The elegant southpaw has come into his own and the mix-up with KL Rahul in the last game kind of spurred him on as he looked in ominous touch in Lucknow’s last game. An on-song de Kock not only allows Rahul to bat deep, something he enjoys, but also puts the pressure on the opposition in the powerplay overs. With Shami expected to bowl most of his overs in first six, de Kock’s approach could well force Pandya to make some unwanted changes to his strategy.
Rahul Tewatia: Tewatia has been the impact player for Gujarat this season. Coming into bat in crunch situations, the left-hander has delivered. With David Miller and Rashid Khan, he has bailed the side out of trouble and landed the finishing blow. While his leg-spin has not been a regular affair this season, batting has come good, and how! Against a varied Lucknow attack, onus will be on Tewatia to provide another late flourish with the bat.
Mohsin Khan: One of the finds of this season, left-arm seamer Mohsin has made the ball talk in the powerplay overs and has been very calm towards the fag end of the innings. 4/16 against Delhi Capitals was spell of the tournament for the seamer and he would look to do more of the same when he marks his run-up against the likes of Wriddhiman Saha and Shubman Gill.
Rashid vs Lucknow middle-order: Lucknow’s middle-order is yet to follow a template and the management has looked to focus on match-ups than fixed positions while deciding the positions. A Krunal Pandya has seen promotions and the dangerous Marcus Stoinis has been kept for the final push. The wickets column was on the drier side for Rashid but the crafty spinner has regained his wicket-taking mojo and would look to exploit the tiring pitches on offer. Rashid vs Stoinis, Hooda, Krunal, Holder promises to be a mouth-watering affair.
Side note: Watch out for Pandya vs Pandya too!
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