It is knockout cricket in the Indian Premier League from here on in and on Wednesday we find out who will meet the Rajasthan Royals in Qualifier 2 when the Lucknow Super Giants take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Eliminator in Kolkata.
These two sides finished third and fourth in the league phase of the competition and know their next loss will be their last this term. A win here sees whoever claims it heading to Ahmedabad with their title chances still alive.
Lucknow Super Giants
When you consider it is their first season as a franchise, the Lucknow Super Giants have had an excellent maiden campaign and now they will be looking to crown it with the title. I think it is fair to say that they have been solid and consistent rather than flashy but that doesn’t mean they haven’t got players who can win matches on their own should they have a day out. You get the feeling we have rarely seen this team fire in a complete performance. Now would be a good time for that.
The Super Giants might just want to get their bowlers together ahead of this match. They have been expensive in their last two outings and while some of that will be the intensity disappearing after they had already qualified for the latter stages of the competition, they certainly won’t want to deliver a poor bowling display here. The positive is that their openers filled their boots in the last match and if they can fire here Lucknow would have every chance.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
The Royal Challengers Bangalore rode their luck to make it into these playoffs but now they are here they might just be performing without too much expectation on them, which would be completely different to their previous play-off outings when they have been a team expected to win. Whether that yields the elusive title remains to be seen, and I would imagine the closer they get to the trophy the more the past will threaten to haunt them, but for now you would think Bangalore can play pretty freely.
Bangalore have got into these finals without their batting really delivering anything close to their best consistently. If they can do that for three matches starting from this one then there is definitely enough talent to win the title. They have a bowling attack which has plenty of variety in it but if we saw anything on Tuesday it was the fact that you are going to have to score big runs to be successful on this ground. That isn’t anything new anyway.
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Quinton de Kock arrives into this Eliminator off the back of the third highest individual score in IPL history last time out. If he can show that sort of form in this match then he’ll have the Lucknow Super Giants well on top.
Glenn Maxwell is beginning to tick and on a ground where scoring runs is the overriding requirement someone who can work the ball to every corner of the outfield is worth their weight in gold. If Maxwell can get in and get going he could lead his team to victory.
I thought the run line was low in the Qualifier 1 match on Tuesday and although it is higher here I still don’t think it is high enough, even with the pressure of knockout cricket on the contest. The line has risen to 323.5 but we saw just how good this pitch is on Tuesday and it isn’t going to change over the course of 40 overs. What’s more, we saw how quick the outfield is and how accessible the boundaries are so I expect this line to be covered.
These two players in the league at the DY Patil Stadium where the pitch was probably the one which suited the bowlers the most in the tournament and 181/6 played 153/8 so this line was safely covered and it was covered in a match where Virat Kohli failed to trouble the scorers and Quinton de Kock scored just three so there is plenty more to come from these two sides. It should be noted that these two attacks are decent enough but so were the ones on show on Tuesday and both went for more than 185 runs. I don’t see any different here.
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