It's 'win or go home' time for the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) and the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022. The two sides are set to battle it out in the Eliminator at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday, 25 May. Fortunately, the weather forecast seems quite promising.
The Lucknow Super Giants have held their own in their debut IPL season. They won nine of their 14 league matches and finished third in the points table. Bangalore, on the other hand, narrowly clinched the final playoff spot after the Delhi Capitals lost their final group stage game against the Mumbai Indians.
The winner of the Eliminator will play against the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL Qualifier 2 in Ahmedabad on Friday, 27th May. With everything to play for in this contest, both sides will look to put their best foot forward.
With the kind of form they have shown throughout the season, LSG will be starting as slight favorites for this game. On that note, let's take a look at three reasons why.
#1 LSG's lethal bowling line up in IPL 2022
Lucknow's pace-bowling unit has been one of the best (if not the best) in the IPL this year. They have the kind bowlers who hit the deck hard like Avesh Khan, Jason Holder and Moshin Khan. They could get something out off a fresh Eden Garden pitch.
While Avesh has been the leader of the pack with Holder playing his role, the two have blown hot and cold in the bowling department. Mohsin Khan has been LSG's most impressive bowler throughout the season, with 13 wickets at an economy rate of just 5.93.
The RCB top-order have had their struggles against left-arm seamers this season. If Mohsin can set the tone for his side up front again, LSG will fancy their chances in this contest. Not to forget Krunal Pandya, who enjoys favourable match-ups against Glenn Maxwell and Dinesh Karthik, RCB's two pivotal cogs in the middle order.
#2 RCB's misfiring seamers
Josh Hazlewood has been doing the heavy lifting for RCB this season, along with Wanindu Hasaranga, helping his side pull things back in the middle overs. The likes of Shahbaz Ahmed and Glenn Maxwell have contributed quite well too. However, Harshal Patel hasn't replicated the wicket-taking form he showed last season. Hence, his side have lacked some potency all around.
Adding to their woes, Mohammed Siraj missed out on the final league game of the season against the Gujarat Titans due to his poor form. His replacement Siddarth Kaul didn't cover himself in glory as he conceded 43 runs in the game.
Bangalore have taken the least wickets in the powerplay in this year's IPL (16). They have had to rely on Hasaranga and Harshal to pull things back in the middle overs. It will be crucial for them to strike early against LSG though. They have a potentially destructive opening pair of KL Rahul and Quinton de Kock, two former RCB players who the franchise should know all about.
Along with Deepak Hooda, the trio have been responsible for 65 percent of their IPL team's runs. They could take this game away from RCB if given the time to get their eye in.
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#3 Cloud over Harshal Patel's fitness
Another worry for the Royal Challengers Bangalore is the injury concern to one of their pivotal cogs in the bowling unit. Harshal Patel suffered a split webbing on his bowling hand while fielding in the final group stage game and didn't complete his full quota of overs.
While he hasn't been as successful as he was last season, he's been much more economical, executing his role in the death overs for the side. The update from the RCB camp is a positive one for the IPL Purple Cap 2021 winner, who should be taped up and ready for this crucial contest.
However, bowling with split webbing is never a straightforward task. With his variations and tricks, Harshal might face a bit of discomfort in executing his plans. Earlier in the season, Sunrisers Hyderabad's Washington Sundar suffered a similar injury and missed a few games for his side.
Q. Who will win the Eliminator?
Lucknow Super Giants
Royal Challengers Bangalore
122 votes so far