Lucknow Super Giants all-rounder Marcus Stoinis stunned everyone with his extraordinary innings against Mumbai Indians on Tuesday, May 16, at the Ekana Cricket Stadium.
Stoinis, apparently, played on a different surface rather than the red soil that troubled most of the batters. Even though the red soil was preferred over the black soil, the difficulty in delivering runs was moreover the same.
Marcus Stoinis came in to bat when LSG were reduced to 35 for three just after the powerplay overs. He didn't allow MI spinners to build pressure in the middle overs and smashed Piyush Chawla and Hrithik Shokeen for a six each.
Stoinis stuck to the crease along with stand-in skipper Krunal Pandya as the duo ensured LSG didn't lose any further wickets. Krunal retired hurt on 49 but Stoinis kept his march on with a sedate fifty.
The Australian shifted gears after crossing the 50-run mark. He clubbed three fours and two sixes off Chris Jordan's 18th over that went for 24 runs.
Stoinis smashed successive sixes against compatriot Jason Behrendorff in the penultimate over. He smoked Akash Madhwal for a six over long-off on the final ball to put LSG with a respectable 177/3.
Stoinis remained unbeaten on 89 from 47 balls, hammering four boundaries and eight sixes, at a strike rate of 189.36. Speaking about the innings from Stoinis, Harbhajan Singh said on his YouTube channel:
"I will give 10 out of 10 points to Stoinis for this. He will love this innings even if he did not make a century. It was no less than a century. That partnership between Krunal Pandya and Marcus Stoinis (82 runs) was excellent."
"I appreciate the way Stoinis went with his innings. Regardless of the pitch, once you are set then your work becomes easy. Things won't be easy for a new batter in such conditions."
"Mohsin Khan bowled brilliantly" - Harbhajan Singh
Mumbai Indians openers Rohit Sharma (37) and Ishan Kishan set the tone with their 90-run stand at the halfway stage.
LSG leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi dismissed both the openers and pacer Yash Thakur cleaned up Suryakumar Yadav for just seven while the latter attempted for a scoop shot.
LSG survived the late scare from Tim David's blitz - 32 runs in 19 balls with the help of three sixes and a boundary. Naveen-ul-Haq, who gave just 22 runs from his first three overs, leaked 19 runs in the penultimate over.
Mohsin Khan held his nerves to defend 11 runs in the last over against David and Cameron Green. The left-arm quick executed a couple of yorkers and bowled tightly at the fuller length.
Speaking about the brilliant efforts from Mohsin in a thrilling over, Harbhajan said:
"Mohsin Khan bowled brilliantly to deny MI 11 runs in the last over. He didn't play cricket for a year and was away from the game. He was injured and made a comeback to help his team win in a fashionable manner."
LSG moved to third place in the points table with 15 points in 13 games. They will face Kolkata Knight Riders in their final league game on May 20 at Eden Gardens.