Lucknow is currently in fourth place, with five wins and three defeats from eight matches, while Punjab is sixth, with four wins and the same number of losses.
Lucknow defeated Mumbai Indians by 36 runs in their last match, while Punjab entered the match after beating Chennai Super Kings by 11 runs.
Rahul is in superb form at the top of the range, having already hit two hundred this season – both against Mumbai Indians – and a score of over fifty.
With 368 runs, he is the second highest scorer to date this season, just behind Jos Buttler of Rajasthan Royals and has been his team’s main hitter.
Punjab’s balanced bowling attack, led by South African pacemaker Kasigo Rabada, would like to slow down the stylish right-handed batter.
Rabada and the likes of Arshdeep Singh, who has been impressive in death-overs, Sandeep Sharma, Rishi Dhawan and Rahul Chahar, should ask Rahul serious questions at the MCA stadium, which has witnessed high-grossing thrillers.
Leg spinner Chahar is the leading wicket taker for Punjab with 10 scalps, but he should do more to help his team’s cause.
In the batting division, opener Shikhar Dhawan, who hit an unbeaten 88 in Punjab’s previous match, is back under the runs and that’s a big plus.
But skipper Mayank Agarwal’s form is a cause for concern. He has blown hot and cold with the willow, scoring a single fifty plus in seven games this season. He would like to find consistency and give the thrust at the top with flamboyant Dhawan.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who has fallen behind, recently played his part well against CSK when he handed in 42-ball with 42 and the Sri Lankan would love to put on another good show.
One of the best hitters will have to come close again to set the stage for power-hitters like Liam Livingstone and Jonny Bairstow if Punjab has to post or chase a big total.
For Lucknow, captain Rahul needs support from other batters, including opening partner Quinton De Kock, who failed in the game against Mumbai as he was ejected for 10.
De Kock, who has scored 225 runs to date, has not fully realized his potential and needs to fire on all cylinders and add weight to the LSG batting.
Lucknow has depth in their at bat with veteran Manish Pandey, the hard hitting duo of Marcus Stoinis and Krunal Pandya, the trusty Deepak Hooda, rookie Ayush Badoni and West Indian Jason Holder, known for hitting sixes at will, in their ranks.
The bowling department has also done well, with Sri Lankan pacesetters Dushmantha Chameera and Holder good for the money so far. The duo have shared 14 wickets and will have to continue their good work to stop Punjab’s attacking line-up.
The eight overs of spinners Krunal Pandya and Ravi Bishnoi can also become crucial and change the fate of a match.
The teams (of):
Punjab Kings: Mayank Agarwal (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Arshdeep Singh, Kagiso Rabada, Jonny Bairstow, Rahul Chahar, Harpreet Brar, Shahrukh Khan, Prabhsimran Singh, Jitesh Sharma, Ishan Porel, Liam Livingstone, Odean Smith, Sandeep Sharma, Raj Angad Bawa, Rishi Dhawan, Prerak Mankad, Vaibhav Arora, Writtick Chatterjee, Baltej Dhanda, Ansh Patel, Nathan Ellis, Atharva Taide, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Benny Howell.
Lucknow Super Giants: KL Rahul (c), Manan Vohra, Evin Lewis, Manish Pandey, Quinton De Kock, Ravi Bishnoi, Dushmantha Chameera, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mohsin Khan, Mayank Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Andrew Tye, Marcus Stoinis, Kyle Mayers, Karan Sharma, Krishnappa Gowtham, Ayush Badoni, Deepak Hooda, Krunal Pandya. Jason Holder.
Match starts at 7:30 PM.
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