When the two teams meet in an Indian Premier League game here on Wednesday, Lucknow Super Giants (LSG), which has lost captain KL Rahul and seamer Jaydev Unadkat to injury, will be mindful of Chennai Super Kings' capacity to recover.
LSG would also be in the firing line after being bowled out for only 108 by Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday after failing to chase down a pitiful score of 126 in their own backyard.
Rahul suffered a right thigh injury while playing against RCB here on Monday, while Unadkat had a horrific tumble while bowling in the practise nets on Sunday.
While the extent of both injuries is still unknown, Rahul entered the game at No. 11 in the LSG run chase and faced three balls without making an out. It's unlikely that he will play on Wednesday for the LSG.
While captain Rahul has not been at his best after the two half-centuries (74 against Punjab Kings and 68 against Gujarat Titans), players like Kyle Mayers, Nicholas Pooran, Marcus Stoinis, and Krunal Pandya have contributed both individually and collectively in previous games to keep the Lucknow franchise afloat.
This season, LSG's performance has fluctuated greatly. On the one hand, they have delivered dominant performances that have made rival teams envious, but they also possess a self-destruction button that automatically activates.
While their game against RCB on Monday was an illustration of how tragically a team could lose while chasing a meagre total of 126, their match against Punjab Kings on April 28 served as a reminder of what the team can accomplish when working together.
Mayers, Badoni, Stoinis, Pooran, Naveen-ul-Haq, and Yash Thakur all contributed to the 257 for five against Punjab Kings, which culminated to a 56-run victory, however they failed collectively against RCB.
Given that their captain Rahul would be unable to play on Wednesday owing to a possible torn hip flexor muscle, their vulnerability of giving in to pressure might inspire the MS Dhoni-led CSK to launch a full-scale onslaught.
LSG may be in third position in the IPL rankings with 10 points after nine games, but CSK, which also has 10 points after nine games but is in fourth due to a worse net run rate (NRR), might take advantage of the crushing blow to their psyche after the 18-run defeat to RCB.
Although CSK have suffered back-to-back defeats to Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings, their capacity to recover should never be underrated.
Since most of their victories this season have been a result of Dhoni's tactical brilliance, the former India captain may take advantage of the circumstance, particularly if Rahul is unable to play on Wednesday.
Devon Conway, the CSK's opening batsman from New Zealand, will be highly relied upon once again. Conway has been in fantastic form, hitting 414 runs from nine matches at an average of 59.14 and a strike rate of 144.25.
Despite Conway smashing an unbeaten 92 at Chepauk to lead his team to 200 for 4, it was unfortunate that CSK lost to Punjab because the total was surpassed off the final ball.
Players with big-game temperament like Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ravindra Jadeja, and Ajinkya Rahane may go off at any time, while the Sri Lankan bowling tandem of Maheesh Theekshana and Matheesha Pathirana, not to mention Moeen Ali and Jadeja, have been effective tools in CSK's toolbox.
Whoever leads LSG onto the pitch on Wednesday will determine a lot. Rahul's absence was felt by RCB for a significant portion of the game on Monday, and CSK may take advantage of the similar circumstance if he misses Wednesday's match.
the following teams:
Lucknow Super Giants: KL Rahul (c), Avesh Khan, Ayush Badoni, Quinton de Kock, Krishnappa Gowtham, Arpit Guleria, Deepak Hooda, Prerak Mankad, Kyle Mayers, Amit Mishra, Mohsin Khan, Naveen-ul-Haq, Krunal Pandya, Nicholas Pooran, Ravi Bishnoi, Daniel Sams, Karan Sharma, Romario Shepherd, Marcus Stoinis, Swapnil Singh, Jaydev Unadkat, Manan Vohra, Mark Wood, Yash Thakur, Yudhvir Singh.
Ambati Rayudu, Mitchell Santner, Subhranshu Senapati, Simarjeet Singh, Nishant Sindhu, Prashant Solanki, Ben Stokes, and Maheesh Theekshana are the members of the Chennai Super Kings. MS Dhoni (c/wk) is also the captain.
The match will begin at 3:30 IST.