LSG skipper KL Rahul has led from the front for his franchise.

The Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) will face the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in game 53 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium in Pune on Saturday, in the second match of the double-header. LSG have been impressive in their debut season and are second in the points table with seven wins from 10 games. They are on a three-match winning spree. In their last game, they beat the Delhi Capitals (DC) by six runs on the back of a good all-round performance. Kolkata are down in the eighth spot. They have only eight points after 10 games. They ended their five-match losing streak by getting the better of the Rajasthan Royals (RR) by seven wickets in their previous clash. Here are five player battles in LSG vs KKR match.

1. KL Rahul vs Umesh Yadav: LSG skipper KL Rahul has led from the front for his franchise. Almost every time he has gone out to the middle, he has made a massive impact with his batting. In the last game as well, it was his 51-ball 77 that set up the victory for his team. He will be keen to get the side off to a solid start against Kolkata as well. KKR have been lucky to have had the services of Umesh Yadav at the top of the order. Barring a couple of matches, he has been spot on and has claimed the early wickets more times than not. Knowing how crucial Rahul’s wicket is, Yadav will be keen to get him out early. Can he produce another beauty to strike early?

2. Shreyas Iyer vs Mohsin Khan: KKR skipper Shreyas Iyer has looked good and has got a few impressive starts. But, leave aside a couple, and he has failed to convert his knocks into big ones. With KKR in a desperate situation, he will have to lead from the front. Can he rise to the challenge? Considering the struggles of the opening pair, expect Iyer to be in early. He could be challenged by young Mohsin Khan. The 23-year-old left-arm seamer has been brilliant for LSG even since he has come into the team. He claimed 3 for 24 against Punjab and 4 for 16 against Delhi. Khan will be looking to produce something special against Iyer as well.

3. Deepak Hooda vs Tim Southee: Deepak Hooda returned to form with a fluent fifty against Delhi. LSG will hope for him to continue his good run. Consistency has not been Hooda’s forte but when he gets it right, he makes a splash. If he gets going, the big-hitter will make an impact for sure. Tim Southee has excelled for KKR ever since he has come in. He has some excellent variations and has been rewarded for bowling good line and lengths. However, he can be expensive as well. This unpredictable battle can add intrigue to the contest.

4. Andre Russell vs Jason Holder: KKR dasher Andre Russell has been one of the franchise’s bright spots this season. In matches where all others have failed, he has single-handedly stood up and tried to make a difference. Sometimes it has worked, sometimes it hasn’t, but the effort has always been there from Dre Russ. At the death, he will be up against the canny Jason Holder. Both the West Indian all-rounders know each other’s games inside-out. Who will utilize it to their advantage on Super Saturday?

5. Marcus Stoinis vs Sunil Narine: LSG dasher Marcus Stoinis could end up facing a couple of overs from Sunil Narine as KKR use him a lot in the second half of the innings. Stoinis has gone off the boil a bit after an impressive start. But he can never be written off. Having said that, he has had his fair share of struggles against slow bowlers. And Narine has been impossible to get away in IPL 2022. If given a chance, Stoinis will look to attack Narine. Whether he can unlock the mystery is another matter altogether.

–Renin Wilben Albert

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