IPL 2023: How a pep talk propelled Giants into the playoff reckoning

The game changed dramatically after Gautam Gambhir came onto the pitch for the final strategic time out pep talk


Leslie Wilson Jr

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Lucknow Super Giants' Prerak Mankad (right) and Nicholas Pooran celebrate their stunning win over Sunrisers Hyderabad. — AFP
Lucknow Super Giants' Prerak Mankad (right) and Nicholas Pooran celebrate their stunning win over Sunrisers Hyderabad. — AFP

Published: Sat 13 May 2023, 10:15 PM

Like many teams chasing a total on a tricky wicket, Lucknow Super Giants was having grave concerns as to how it would be able to run down what by IPL 2023 standards was a moderate total of 182 runs.

As it approached the 15th over of the match it looked like a mountain to climb with 68 runs required off the last six overs.

There were several worried faces among the team as mentor Gautam Gambhir came onto the pitch at the RGI Stadium in Hyderabad for the final strategic time out of the match.

It would provide a pivotal moment in the direction of the game.

Trinidadian Nicholas Pooran, one of the biggest hitters in the game, was seriously contemplating the task on hand as he and Marcus Stoinis walked back to the centre.

The plan was to attack the sixth bowler, left-arm spinner Abhishek Sharma. And what an assault it was.

Stoinis provided the opening salvo blasting two sixes before being caught attempting a third.

If Sharma thought he had gained revenge he was wrong. Hopelessly wrong, Pooran picked up the gauntlet and slammed the last three deliveries of his over for maximums.

The five sixes completely changed the course of the match and propelled Lucknow to an unthinkable seven-wicket victory, with four balls remaining.

The IPL continues to amaze as the bat continues to dominate the ball with Sharma left to look like a punch-drunk boxer.

LSG went home pleased as punch with 13 points from 12 games taking them to the fourth spot behind Gujarat Titans (16), Chennai Super Kings (15), and Mumbai Indians (14) and every chance of making it to the playoffs.

However, there is still work to do with Rajasthan Royals, RCB, KKR, and PBKS within striking distance of stealing a last four ticket.

But it will have a lot of positives to take away and dwell on the importance of the strategic timeouts.

Pooran disclosed what happened during those priceless three minutes.

"We spoke at the break, we felt we needed sixes to win the game. Once a spinner came in, we targeted him,” he said.

“It's important to target a sixth bowler. T20 is a batsmen's game, and it is important to take risks.”

Aiden Markram’s point of view was that he and his team failed in the pressure situation that they were thrust into during the final stages of the match.

“Pressure is an interesting thing, and the guys tried their best,” said the Sunrisers' South African skipper.

“When you are put under pressure by high-quality players like Stoinis and Pooran, you are going to be tested.”

All may not be lost should it win its three remaining matches which Markram described as opportunities that they need to take.

Will they?

Brief scores

Lucknow Super Giants beats Sunrisers Hyderabad by seven wickets.

Sunrisers Hyderabad 182/6 (Heinrich Klaasen 47, Abdul Samad 37, Krunal Pandya 2/24)

Lucknow Super Giants 185/3 in 19.2 overs (Prerak Mankad 64 not out, Nicholas Pooran 44 not out, Marcus Stoinis 40; Glenn Phillips 1/10)


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