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All eyes on KL Rahul as LSG face DC in play-off battle

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New Delhi, May 13: Focus will be on skipper KL Rahul as a struggling Lucknow Super Giants look to keep their slim IPL playoff chances alive when they face an equally desperate Delhi Capitals in a must-win game here on Tuesday.
There has been a lot of speculations about Rahul’s future as LSG skipper after his “public reprimand” by team owner Sanjiv Goenka following their 10-wicket hammering by Sunrisers Hyderabad last Wednesday.
Speculations are rife that Rahul may step down as captain or perhaps he will do his duties for the remaining two games before leaving Lucknow Super Giants.
In either case, the India batter would look to answer with his bat and end things on a high.
Rahul hasn’t been in the best of form and it’s not only cost him a place in India’s T20 squad but also left LSG at the seventh spot with 12 points with RCB and DC, who are fifth and sixth respectively.
Five days is a lot of time to introspect and Rahul and Co. will look to come out all guns blazing when they face DC, who are also on 12 points and are coming into the match after a loss against RCB on Sunday night.
Besides Rahul, Quinton De Kock’s poor form this season has left LSG struggling in the powerplay, putting pressure on the likes of Marcus Stoinis and Nicholas Pooran, who haven’t got the freedom to unleash their big shots.
Although Pooran and Ayush Badoni managed to rescue the team in the last match, the bowlers failed miserably against the formidable SRH pair of Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma, who racked up 167 in 9.4 overs, a T20I record by any team.
The loss of tearaway pacer Mayank Yadav to injury has left a big hole which Yash Thakur and Naveen-ul-Haq haven’t been able to fill. Also Mohsin Khan picked up an injury and didn’t play last match.
The spin duo of Krunal Pandya and Ravi Bishnoi too have been to do a lot of soul searching after being punished by SRH.
Delhi Capitals, on the other hand, will hope the return of skipper Rishabh Pant after a one-match suspension due to slow overrate against Rajasthan Royals will help them to end things on a high.
Delhi sans Pant paid the price for their fielding lapses as those drop catches and misfields came back to haunt them against RCB on Sunday night.
While the bowlers let RCB off the hook after a good start, the batting once again came unstuck as they lost four wickets inside 4 overs to be bowled out for their lowest innings score this IPL.
But this is the same team which scored four 200 plus totals this season and they will have to find their mark in their last game to salvage any slim hopes of a top four.
Jack Fraser-McGurk, with 330 runs from seven matches at an impressive strike-rate of 237.41, has been their most impactful batter. While Abhishek Porel (269, 156.39), Pant (413, 156.43) and Tristan Stubbs (321, 185.54) too have been among runs this season.
In the bowling department, the spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav (15) and Axar Patel (10) have shared 25 wickets, while pacers Khaleel Ahmed (16 wickets) and Mukesh Kumar (16) too have got them the breakthroughs. (PTI)

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