Mankad 64, Pooran 13-ball 44 bring LSG back to number 4

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Lucknow Supergiants Beat 185 for 3 (Mankad 64*, Pooran 44*). Sunrises Hyderabad 182 for 6 (Klaasen 47, Krunal 2-24) with seven wickets

Lucknow Super Giants revived their swinging campaign with their first win in four games and pushed Sunrisers Hyderabad to the brink of elimination. With five overs to go and 69 runs to go on a slow delivery, the Super Giants were staring at possible defeat, but Nicholas Pooran and Marcus Stoinis took 31 from the 16th, bowled by part-time left arm spinner Abhishek Sharma, ending the game completely upside down. Pooran remained undefeated at 44 from 13.

Krunal Pandya showed how heavy the field was with back-to-back wickets from Aiden Markram and Glenn Phillips with sharp turns at a fast pace, but there was one difference: there was bounce in the field to work with. Ravi Bishnoi and Amit Mishra made mistakes and went for 63 in their six. Sunrisers’ Mayank Markande went for 39 in his three, perhaps leaving Markram to Abhishek for that fateful 16th over.

The win took Super Giants to 13 points from 12 games, back in the top four, and Sunrisers are down a math chance with only 8 points from 11 games.

Sunrisers start well

They’re not quite used to it yet, but Sunrisers didn’t get off to a disastrous start, even though they didn’t have big stands. Yudhvir Singh bowed with fire and knocked out Abhishek early, but Anmolpreet Singh and Rahul Tripathi kept hitting. They each took two boundaries from Avesh Khan’s first, the fifth; though Yash Thakur Tripathi bounced out, Sunrisers got 56 of 2 in the power play.

On a surface with some curves, Bishnoi and Mishra regularly went too far or went too short. Klaasen and Markram put in and reached 115 for 3 in 12 overs.

Past the Krunal Pandya

Then suddenly Pandya showed what the field was capable of. He even grabbed a big turn at his pace to get Markram and Glenn Phillips in back-to-back deliveries. Markram was stunned as he defended on the front foot as the ball twisted off his leg and dragged him out. Phillips went back to a similar delivery and was bowled. Pandya now bowled three overs for 13 runs and two wickets, knocking the wind out of Sunrisers’ sails.

Two short balls – duly bowled by Klaasen – and Avesh losing his yorkers in the 19th over helped, but 182 was disappointing after that start.

Sunrisers control the start of the chase

The way Sunrisers started their bowling didn’t exactly look disappointing. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Fazalhaq Farooqi gave Kyle Mayers and Quinton de Kock nothing at all. Phillips took advantage of those dry overs as Mayers hit him straight to halfway.

Prerak Mankad and de Kock struggled to get going as Sunrisers continued to use tempo changes. The only bowler to provide any relief was Markande when De Kock hit him for a six and a four at the end of the seventh over. He took aim at Markande again in the ninth, but a reverse sweep took him out.

Mankad and Stoinis also got stuck, scoring only 34 from the first 28 balls they faced. It was a typical slow start from Stoinis, but the younger Mankad – 36 out of 29 at the time – seemed to be under more pressure.

Timeout followed by knockout

At that point, Gautam Gambhir and Andy Flower had an animated conversation with the two batters during time-out. With eight wickets in hand, they still needed 94 from seven. Mankad jumped out the crease first after the timeout and hit a six. It helped that the bowler was Markande, who had one left after this.

That attack on Markande may have also necessitated Bhuvneshwar’s early return, but even he passed for a six in the 15th. Markram now had two overs from Natarajan and one from Bhuvneshwar and Farooqi. They were all bowling great. To get that final in, Markram went to the left arm spinner, presumably because of the two right hand hitters at the wicket.

To be fair to Sunrisers, Abhishek had already bowled two overs for just 11 runs. So maybe it was the right time to sneak one in. But instead of sneaking in quietly, Abhishek announced himself with an alternating first pitch: An armball went horribly wrong, and Stoinis hit the full toss for a giant six. Then Abhishek went over the wicket. Wide. Back around. Overpit, and an even bigger six.

When Abhishek let Stoinis catch the third ball, it actually turned out to be bad news for him. A left-handed batter came out. Not just any left-handed batter, but a spin hitter who can go from ball one. And get off ball Pooran did. Huge slog sweep followed by a straight six followed by another slog sweep. Pooran had 18 of 3, Super Giants needed 38 of 24, and despite Natarajan’s best efforts, it was then a walk.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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