RCB take on LSG in IPL 2023 on sluggish Lucknow pitch. Cricket

In T20 cricket, regardless of the nature of the surface, home advantage often makes no more difference to the batsmen than dominance does. But here in Lucknow, it is the pitch that makes all the difference, especially when it is a low-bouncing black clay wicket where the ball comes in slower.

Players of Royal Challengers Bangalore and Lucknow Super Giants congratulate each other at the end of their IPL 2023 cricket match (PTI)

Even after scoring just 126/9, Faf du Plessis-led Royal Challengers Bangalore made things difficult for Lucknow Super Giants in their own lair on the double-paste turf at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium on Monday. Exciting 18 runs scored. win in IPL.

After their third consecutive defeat at home, the worries for the LSG were high as skipper KL Rahul sustained an injury in the second over after falling while trying to stop the ball. Groaning in pain with a possible hamstring or thigh injury, he was helped off the pitch by the LSG support staff. He came out to bat as LSG’s innings continued to decline, and he was even having trouble moving the ball, let alone hitting it. He remained unbeaten on zero in three balls.

It is likely to provide a fresh injury headache for India in the World Test Championship final against Australia to be played at The Oval in June. With Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer all injured and ruled out of the match, Rahul, despite his poor batting form, at least looked like an experienced hand who could shore up the middle order.

Revenge was on RCB’s mind after losing their first meeting in Bengaluru. After Kyle Mayer fell with his best bat for a duck in the first over, LSG could not fight back against a disciplined RCB bowling attack and were bowled out for 108 in 19.5 overs after being reduced to 34/4 in six overs .

Barring Krishnappa Gautam (23 — 13b, 1×4, 2×6), Krunal Pandya (14 — 11b, 3×4) and Marcus Stoinis (13 — 19b, 1×6), none of the LSG batsmen crossed double figures.

Captain Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli also struggled against the slower bowlers, especially Krunal Pandya’s left-arm spin. Pandya did not let go of both the openers. Both were lucky not to be caught and also escaped being run out early in the game.

Du Plessis hit a six off Marcus Stoinis in the second over, scoring 10 runs. RCB never got going as the ball arrived late and the low bounce was also troubling the batsmen. RCB scored 42 runs in the power play and Kohli and du Plessis combined for 62 runs in 54 balls.

Kohli (31, 30b, 3×4) was the first to fall. He was beaten as he was run out on a googly by Ravi Bishnoi outside off stump. Anuj Rawat (9), Glenn Maxwell (4) and Suyash Prabhudesai (6) were also dismissed cheaply, but du Plessis was caught by Pandya off Amit Mishra. Du Plessis scored 44 (1x, 1×6) in 40 balls. Mishra got Du Plessis caught by Gautam. The batsmen in the lower order also found it difficult to push the score.

Kohli, serious row

Soon after the match, there was a heated argument between Kohli and LSG mentor Gautam Gambhir. TV footage showed an exchange of heated words between the two. It appeared that Kohli was talking to Kyle Mayer when Gambhir tried to take the player away. Kohli and Gambhir have clashed on the field in the IPL.

Players of both the teams including Rahul were seen pacifying Kohli. The drama went on for about 10 minutes before the presentation ceremony began.

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