Match Preview – RCB vs LSG 15th Match, IPL

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Match details

Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) vs Lucknow Super Giants (LSG)
Bengaluru, 1930 IST (1400 GMT)

Big Picture

Glenn Maxwell and Nicholas Pooran kept hitting them big. It was range-hitting like you’ve come to expect of highly-skilled professionals pushing the limits of T20 batting.

Their practice sessions on Monday summed up the batting approach you’re likely to see from both RCB and LSG: fun, free and fearless. More personnel were stationed in the stands than on the field to throw balls back.

Barring Virat Kohli, RCB’s top order is yet to kick into gear. Faf du Plessis hasn’t fired in the last two games after a robust opening in Chennai, while Cameron Green, their new No. 3, hasn’t found his RCB initiation to be as smooth as his Mumbai Indians entry last year.

There are also concerns over Rajat Patidar’s form. A rejigged middle order needs him to be a floater, a role that hasn’t yet brought dividends, while Maxwell has found it difficult to adjust to slightly sluggish pitches.

RCB’s overseas combination has also come under sharp focus. With Alzarri Joseph conceding close to 12 an over across the first three games for a solitary wicket, there’s likely to be a change with one of Lockie Ferguson or Reece Topley coming into contention, along with Akash Deep.

LSG’s focus was largely inwards, much of it revolving around KL Rahul’s fitness. He only had a brief hit, after going through a series of fitness drills that they hope will be enough to get him on the field, at least as a batter.

Bowling coach Morne Morkel spent considerable time chatting with Mayank Yadav, the IPL’s new pace sensation, even as Pooran, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Hooda and Ayush Badoni had extended batting sessions with just one agenda. Hit the ball long and hard.

Everything points to a high-scoring contest that could boil down to which side hits more sixes.

Form guide

RCB LWL (IPL 2024, most recent match first)
LSG WL

Team news & Impact Player strategy

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Royal Challengers Bengaluru
RCB brought in fast bowler Vyshak Vijaykumar as an Impact Sub for Dinesh Karthik in the previous game. But there’s a case for Vyshak to be in the first XI. He enjoyed a breakout 2023-24 domestic season as a lower-order batter, scoring a maiden first-class century and List A fifty. Patidar or Mahipal Lomror could be likely candidates to be Impact Sub when they bat, with Reece Topley likely to be subbed in when they bowl.

Likely XII 1 Virat Kohli, 2 Faf du Plessis (capt), 3 Cameron Green, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Rajat Patidar/Mahipal Lomror, 6 Anuj Rawat (wk), 7 Dinesh Karthik, 8 Mayank Dagar, 9 Vyshak Vijaykumar, 10 Mohammed Siraj, 11 Yash Dayal, 12 Reece Topley.

Lucknow Super Giants
LSG’s Impact Strategy will hinge on Rahul’s fitness. For now, it’s likely they’ll sub in the big-hitting Ashton Turner or Naveen-ul-Haq for Rahul or another batter.

Likely XII 1 KL Rahul (capt), 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Devdutt Padikkal, 4 Nicholas Pooran, 5 Marcus Stoinis, 6 Krunal Pandya, 7Ayush Badoni/Deepak Hooda, 8 Ravi Bishnoi, 9 Mohsin Khan, 10 Mayank Yadav, 11 M Siddharth, 12 Ashton Turner/Naveen-ul-Haq.

In the spotlight

Faf du Plessis was dismissed for under 20 just once in IPL 2023, where made eight fifty-plus scores. His opening partnership with Virat Kohli was the batting combination of the tournament: they scored 939 runs for the first wicket, equalling the record for any pair in an IPL season. So far, barring his powerplay torrent in Chennai, du Plessis is yet to come into his own this season. He’s retired from international cricket and only had a middling SA20 prior to the IPL. RCB will hope he comes into his own soon.

Mayank Yadav has captivated IPL audiences just like Umran Malik did three years ago. Umran’s is an example for Mayank to understand the challenges of life in the fast lane. This 21-year-old from Delhi who can bowl upwards of 155kph won’t be a novelty for long and how he evolves will be intriguing to watch.

Stats that matter

  • RCB’s pacers have proved expensive in the powerplay, so there’s a case to potentially use a favorable match-up against Quinton de Kock. Maxwell has conceded just 45 runs in 49 balls to him in all T20s while dismissing him twice.
  • KL Rahul strikes at 181.13 against Mohammed Siraj; perhaps all the more reason for LSG to bring Maxwell in early on.
  • Siraj has picked up two wickets in three games so far this season, at an average of 55.00 and an economy rate of 10.00.
  • Krunal has a favorable match-up against Maxwell, having dismissed him three times in 35 deliveries while conceding 42.
  • Patidar’s breakthrough IPL century in the 2022 Eliminator, which shot him to instant stardom – making him the first uncapped Indian to hit a playoff ton – came against LSG.

Pitch and conditions

The curator has left more grass than usual on the Chinnaswamy surface to prevent it from breaking down. Bengaluru is reeling under a heat wave with temperatures having touched 38 degrees Celsius. Large parts of the outfield were under hessian covers on the eve of the match. RCB coach Andy Flower believes the nature of the deck won’t change, though, and expects 200 to be breached.

Quotes

“Once our big batters start scoring runs, we’ll see some of the bigger scores. Expect scores of 200 here, we’re certainly capable of that. Our top five haven’t fired yet, if they do, we’ll get there.”
RCB head coach Andy Flower doesn’t think pitches are to blame for the lack of 200 scores so far at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium this season

“He’s been fantastic, very professional. Not just myself, but all players are comfortable with him. Looking forward to him sharing his experience and his sense of calmness as well.”
Nicholas Pooran on new head LSG head coach Justin Langer

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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