LSG IPL 2023 Preview: Not many would have expected Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) to qualify for the Indian Premier League (IPL) playoffs last season in their debut year. IPL 2022 was a rather unpredictable one, an edition that even produced the most unique results (with Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians finishing ninth and 10th respectively).
In IPL 2022, LSG narrowly missed out on the top two spot, missing out to Rajasthan Royals (RR), as both teams ended on 18 points from 14 games. Rajasthan Royals, however, had a superior NRR of +0.298, compared to LSG’s +0.251, and had Lucknow finished in the top two, they, like any team finishing in the top two, would have got an extra shot at making the final.
Also read: Lucknow Super Giants factbox
However, LSG faltered in the playoffs, but not without giving a fight. They were set a target of 208 by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), but even then, crucial contributions from KL Rahul (79) and Deepak Hooda (45) were just not enough, with LSG falling short by 14 runs.
LSG, though, went on to acquire as many as 10 players at the IPL 2023 player auction in Kochi last December, with West Indian Nicholas Pooran being their biggest buy at Rs 16 crore.
Apart from Pooran, LSG went on to acquire fellow West Indian Romario Shepherd, Australia’s Daniel Sams, Afghanistan’s Naveen-ul-Haq, Jaydev Unadkat among a few others.
Mark Wood also returns to the LSG setup, after missing the entirety of IPL 2022 with an injury.
Let’s now take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Lucknow franchise:
The biggest strength for Lucknow Super Giants is their firepower in batting. Two of their three batters (KL Rahul, Quinton de Kock and Deepak Hooda) finished in the top run-getters list in IPL 2022, and apart from the trio, LSG have some big-hitting options in Marcus Stoinis and Nicholas Pooran.
And while Jaydev Unadkat may have just played five matches for MI last season, he has had an exceptional domestic season with Saurashtra, while also making a Team India comeback. Unadkat bagged the most wickets (19) in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, while scalping 26 wickets off just four matches in the Ranji Trophy. The 32-year-old also had a decent Syed Mushtaq Ali campaign, where he picked nine wickets from seven games.
Form is certainly in Unadkat’s favour, and he will certainly fit straight into the LSG playing XI, with a hope of getting more game time.
Death bowling is a concern for Lucknow Super Giants ahead of IPL 2023. Mohsin Khan was one of the standout bowlers for LSG in IPL 2022, and he was effective in both powerplay and the death overs. However, Mohsin is set to miss the majority of the season with LSG due to a shoulder injury.
Last season, LSG had the worst economy in the last five overs (11.1), and Mohsin Khan was the only bowler with a reasonable economy rate (8.60) at that stage.
There are the likes of Mark Wood, Romario Shepherd and Daniel Sams, but this trio does not have much experience playing in the IPL, and that may come as a setback for LSG.
However, pacer Naveen-ul-Haq’s variations might come in handy for LSG. In all T20s, Naveen has scalped 71 wickets in 100 innings, while bowling in the death overs, with an economy of 8.87. But, the 23-year-old is yet to be tested in the IPL, which is a different ball game altogether.
KL Rahul (Captain), Quinton de Kock (Wicketkeeper), Deepak Hooda, Ayush Badoni, Marcus Stoinis, Nicholas Pooran, Krunal Pandya, Ravi Bishnoi, Avesh Khan, Jaydev Unadkat, Mark Wood/Naveen-ul-Haq.
KL Rahul (c), Avesh Khan, Ayush Badoni, Quinton de Kock, K Gowtham, Deepak Hooda, Prerak Mankad, Kyle Mayers, Amit Mishra, Naveen-ul-Haq, Krunal Pandya, Nicholas Pooran, Ravi Bishnoi, Daniel Sams, Karan Sharma, Romario Shepherd, Marcus Stoinis, Swapnil Singh, Jaydev Unadkat, Manan Vohra, Mark Wood, Mayank Yadav, Yash Thakur, Yudhvir Singh, Mohsin Khan (awaiting fitness clearance)
1 April: vs Delhi Capitals in Lucknow (7.30 pm)
3 April: vs Chennai Super Kings in Chennai (7.30 pm)
7 April: vs Sunrisers Hyderabad in Lucknow (7.30 pm)
10 April: vs Royal Challengers Bangalore in Bengaluru (7.30 pm)
15 April: vs Punjab Kings in Lucknow (7.30 pm)
19 April: vs Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur (7.30 pm)
22 April: vs Gujarat Titans in Lucknow (3.30 pm)
28 April: vs Punjab Kings in Mohali (7.30 pm)
1 May: vs Royal Challengers Bangalore in Lucknow (7.30 pm)
4 May: vs Chennai Super Kings in Lucknow (3.30 pm)
7 May: vs Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad (3.30 pm)
13 May: vs Sunrisers Hyderabad in Hyderabad (3.30 pm)
16 May: vs Mumbai Indians in Lucknow (7.30 pm)
20 May: vs Kolkata Knight Riders in Kolkata (7.30 pm)
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