Both teams galloped and tumbled in a sinusoidal fashion. Both were unsure of a playoff berth heading into their final league games. Both entered through the skin of the teeth. While LSG secured the deal with the tightest margins against Kolkata Knight Riders, MI had to bank on a masterclass from Shubman Gill who stole Virat Kohli’s thunder and pushed Rohit Sharma’s men into the top four.
The upside-down rides thus far would have toughened both sides, and they would need to find calm in the chaos as they head into the Eliminator. LSG have the advantage of playing on a home ground somewhat similar to what they will get here, and hold the advantage in recent head-to-head encounters – they have prevailed in the only game this season and twice last year – but all of that might be nothing against MI’s power-hitter roster.
Skipper Rohit’s form was the only obstacle for Mumbai heavyweight, and with him in the previous game, they will have the confidence to challenge Chepauk. TOI explores some matches and aspects that could determine which way the match swings.
LSG vs MI IPL 2023 Eliminator: Lucknow bowlers have their work cut out against Mumbai stick
SKY vs spinners in Chepauk
After overcoming a minor setback, Suryakumar Yadav once again became the most feared T20 batting opposition every day. The length, line, and dimensions of the stadium cease to matter when Surya sings, as he can dismantle bowling attacks like no other. But Chepauk is a different story. The dry surface invariably helps spinners and often makes cross slogs treacherous.
To add to that, LSG’s spin trio of Krunal Pandya, Ravi Bishnoi and Krishnappa Gowtham are proficient at smothering the flow current and are likely to appreciate the conditions here. In such a scenario, it will be fascinating to see the kind of approach Surya takes. Does he bite the bullet and wait for bad range balls, or does he put belief in his abilities above everything else?
Like Surya, when Nicholas Pooran and Marcus Stoinis start, there are very few T20 bowlers in the world who can stop them. Both hitters can hit sixes almost at will and can raise an average total to a formidable one with their pyrotechnics. MI’s bowling has looked vulnerable all season, and in the absence of proven yorker specialists like Jasprit Bumrah and Jofra Archerleaked passages at crucial milestones.
Akash Madhwal has looked to take on that responsibility for the team and has done reasonably well so far, but it remains to be seen if he can replicate that success in a knockout tie against the world-class duo of Pooran and Stoinis. . He will need support from the other side, whether from off-road cameron green or veteran Leggie Piyush Chawla.
The dew factor
Dew’s role in day-night matches at MA Chidambaram Stadium has been unpredictable this season. While there was hardly any dew in the CSK-DC game on May 10, four days later the CSK-KKR encounter seemed to be heavily influenced by this, with losing captain MS Dhoni saying his side needed 180 points to defend, but “there was no way” they could have gotten there in the first set given the state of the field.
Given the importance of the spin here, and given how difficult it is for spinners to grab the ball when the dew takes over, the ability to quickly assess conditions and act accordingly will be paramount. If there is a lot of dew, the coin toss also becomes vital, and whoever wins it will prefer to bowl first.
Show IPL 2023: Confident MI takes on brave LSG in Eliminator