LSG vs DC Player Battles
LSG all-rounder Marcus Stoinis is one of the most fearsome strikers of the cricket ball.

Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) will take on Delhi Capitals (DC) in match number three of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on Saturday, April 1. This will be the second match of the double-header. Lucknow made an impressive debut in the IPL 2022 season, reaching the playoffs in their maiden appearance. The KL Rahul-led outfit will be keen to go all the way this season. Their opponents, Delhi, suffered a big blow as skipper and key batter Rishabh Pant will be unavailable due to the car accident in which he suffered injuries. David Warner will lead in Pant’s absence. On that note, let’s look at five-player battles to watch out for.

1. KL Rahul vs Chetan Sakariya

LSG skipper KL Rahul will be keen to lead from the front yet again. He had a terrific season last year, smashing 616 runs in 15 matches at an average of 51.33 and a strike rate of 135.38, with two hundreds and four half-centuries. In fact, he has scored over 600 runs in four of the last five IPL seasons. In one of these editions, he scored 593 runs. So, when it comes to the IPL, Rahul has been a different beast, although his strike rate at crunch moments continues to be questioned.

Delhi will depend on left-arm seamer Chetan Sakariya at the start of the innings. Though still relatively inexperienced, he has quickly learnt and grown into a key member of the DC bowling unit. In 17 IPL matches so far, he has claimed 17 wickets at an average of 30, an economy rate of 8.10, and a strike rate of 22.24. He has an impressive pace and some variations as well and can look to unsettle Rahul with the same. Given his experience, the LSG skipper would obviously have the upper hand. But, Sakariya is someone who has a lot of belief in his ability.

2. Prithvi Shaw vs Mark Wood

Delhi Capitals opener Prithvi Shaw displayed tremendous form in the IPL last season and carried the same into the domestic season as well. The T20 dynamite slammed 283 runs in 10 matches at an average of 28.30 and an excellent strike rate of 152.97, with two half-centuries. Although he did not get too many big scores, Shaw got Delhi off to some blazing starts. He will be keen to make a bigger impact this time.

LSG will look to unleash the pace of Mark Wood on Shaw. The England fast bowler has had his share of injury problems over the years. However, when fit, he has been one of the most fearsome pacers in the business across formats. Wood has only featured in only one IPL match so far, but can let the ball absolutely rip. The 33-year-old has an impressive T20 record. In 49 matches, he has claimed 65 wickets at an average of 21.20 and an excellent strike rate of 15.6. Wood will definitely look to take out the dangerous Shaw early.     

3. Marcus Stoinis vs Kuldeep Yadav

LSG all-rounder Marcus Stoinis is one of the most fearsome strikers of the cricket ball. Last season, he was used as a finisher and clubbed 156 runs in 11 matches at a strike rate of 147.17. Not many were convinced by Lucknow’s tactics to hold back Stoinis till the end, for there were instances when he didn’t have enough balls to face. However, the Aussie did a good job in the role that was assigned to him. In his overall IPL career, Stoinis has maintained a strike rate of 137.36 and will look to carry on the same vein.

Stoinis will be up for a challenge against left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav. The in-form bowler had a splendid season for DC last year. In 14 matches, he picked up 21 wickets at an average of 19.95 and an equally impressive strike rate of 14.19. Kuldeep has the ability to make things happen out of nowhere and can produce some fantastic wicket-taking deliveries. He will be high on confidence following his recent success. The Kuldeep-Stoinis tussle will be an intriguing one.

4. Mitchell Marsh vs Ravi Bishnoi

Delhi Capitals all-rounder Mitchell Marsh has been in spectacular form with the bat lately. He was the Player of the Series as Australia beat India 2-1 in the three-match ODI series before the start of the IPL. Opening the innings, Marsh registered scores of 81, 66 not out, and 47. The right-handed batter, who is likely to bat at No. 3 for DC, had an impressive IPL season last year. In eight matches, he smacked 251 runs at an average of 31.38 and a strike rate of 132.80, with two fifties.

Young LSG leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi is someone who always loves to be involved in a battle. Even if he does not get wickets, he always ensures that he doesn’t give away anything easily. In three seasons, he has already picked up 37 wickets at an average of 28.49   and an economy rate of 7.53. Having played for India, the youngster has gained some experience and will be confident of standing up to the Stoinis challenge.

5. Nicholas Pooran vs Axar Patel

Despite his poor record in the IPL, West Indies left-hander Nicholas Pooran was picked up at a surprisingly enormous price of Rs 16 crore at the IPL 2023 auction by LSG. In 47 matches in the T20 league, he has scored 912 runs at an average of 26.06, even though he has an impressive strike rate of 151.24. Pooran has the game to succeed and will be keen to prove his detractors wrong.

One of the reasons Pooran has struggled in the IPL has been because he has been frustrated into playing poor strokes. If kept quiet he can lose patience. Delhi can use Axar Patel to exploit this evident weakness of Pooran. The left-arm spinner is among the most accurate bowlers in the business. He can do the job for DC.

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