IPL: Mankad (64), Pooran’s 13-ball 44 take LSG back to No. 4

Lucknow Super Giants resurrected their flailing campaign with their first win in four matches and pushed Sunrisers Hyderabad to the brink of elimination.

With five overs to go and 69 runs to get on a slow pitch, it was Super Giants who were staring at a possible defeat, but Nicholas Pooran and Marcus Stoinis took 31 off the 16th, bowled by part-time left-arm spinner Abhishek Sharma, turning the game completely on its head. Pooran stayed unbeaten on 44 off 13.

Krunal Pandya showed how tough a pitch it was with successive wickets of Aiden Markram and Glenn Phillips with sharp turn at high pace, but there was one difference: there was bounce in the pitch to work with.

Ravi Bishnoi and Amit Mishra made errors and went for 63 in their six. Sunrisers’ Mayank Markande went for 39 in his three, which perhaps made Markram go to Abhishek for that fateful 16th over.

The win took Super Giants to 13 points from 12 matches, back in the top four, and Sunrisers only have a mathematical chance left with just eight points from 11 matches.

Sunrisers start well

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

On a surface with some turn, Bishnoi and Mishra frequently overpitched or went too short. Klaasen and Markram tucked into it, reaching 115-3 in 12 overs.

The Krunal Pandya over

Then suddenly, Pandya showed what the pitch was capable of. He extracted big turn even at his pace to get Markram and Glenn Phillips in successive deliveries. Markram was stumped when defending on the front foot as the ball turned from 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 deposited by Klaasen – and Avesh missing his yorkers in the 19th over helped, but 182 was underwhelming after that start.

Sunrisers control start of chase

It didn’t quite look underwhelming the way Sunrisers began their bowling. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Fazalhaq Farooqi gave Kyle Mayers and Quinton de Kock absolutely nothing. Phillips benefited from those dry overs as Mayers hit him straight to mid-on.

Prerak Mankad and de Kock struggled to get going as Sunrisers kept using changes of pace. The one bowler that provided some relief was Markande as de Kock hit him for a six and a four at the end of seventh over. He targeted Markande again in the ninth, but a reverse-sweep got him out.

Mankad and Stoinis too got stuck, adding just 34 off the first 28 balls they faced. It was a typical slow Stoinis start, but the youngster Mankad – 36 off 29 at that point – looked under more pressure.

Time-out followed by knockout

This is when Gautam Gambhir and Andy Flower had an animated chat with the two batters during the time-out. With eight wickets in hand, they still needed 94 off seven. Mankad jumped out of the crease first ball after the Time Out, and a hit a six. It helped that the bowler was Markande, who still had one over left after this.

That attack on Markande also perhaps necessitated the early return of Bhuvneshwar, but even he went for a six in the 15th over. Markram now had two overs from Natarajan and one each from Bhuvneshwar and Farooqi.

They were all bowling superbly. To get that final over in, Markram went to the left-arm spinner presumably because of the two right-hand batters at the wicket.

To be fair to Sunrisers, Abhishek had already bowled two overs for just 11 runs. So perhaps it was the right time to sneak one over in.

However, instead of sneaking in quietly, Abhishek announced himself with a change-up first ball: an arm ball gone horribly wrong, and Stoinis hit the full toss for a giant six. Then Abhishek went over the wicket. Wide. Back around. Overpitched, and an even bigger six.

When Abhishek had Stoinis caught third ball, it actually turned out to be bad news for him. Out came a left-hand batter. Not just any left-hand batter but a spin hitter who can go from ball one.

And go from ball one Pooran did. Massive slog sweep followed by a straight six followed by another slog sweep. Pooran was 18 off 3, Super Giants needed 38 off 24, and despite the best efforts of Natarajan, it was a walk after that. (ESPNcricinfo)