Mumbai Indians will be a more certain team when they take on the tenacious Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator here on Wednesday thanks to the batting unit finally clicking and a pretty spectacular arrival into the IPL play-offs.
Mumbai Indians have improved since their dismal performance from the previous season, when they had one of their poorest finishes in the IPL.
Gujarat Titans would like to make the most of the proverbial 'life' to go the distance and win their sixth championship. Having advanced this far in the IPL 2023 after Gujarat Titans did them a favor by defeating Royal Challengers Bangalore and pitch-forking the five-time champions into the Eliminator against Lucknow Super Giants.
The Lucknow Super Giants are well aware of the fact that RCB eliminated them at the same level last year despite being one of the most dominant teams.
Despite the absence of regular captain KL Rahul, the team has appeared cohesive. However, Krunal Pandya's tactful resource management will be essential as they take on the most successful IPL team, which appears to have rediscovered its motivation after scoring victories late in the competition.
The impact of towering Australian all-rounder Cameron Green, who scored an undefeated century to help MI upset Sunrisers Hyderabad in their last league match before GT overcame RCB, cannot be overstated.
When they take against LGS in the game of life or death, Green (381 runs), a resurgent Suryakumar Yadav (511 runs, one century, four fifties), captain Rohit (313) and Ishan Kishan (439) will be their important batsmen.
The LSG bowlers will be aware that they have a chore on their hands to restrict the likes of Rohit and Co. now that Mumbai's batting jigsaw has finally fallen into place. if they go forward.
In this situation, Ravi Bishnoi will be crucial if the squad wants to contain MI.
Bishnoi has been LSG's top bowler (16 wickets from 14 games), and he would be Krunal's first choice. But it would also be crucial for individuals like Naveen-ul-Haq and Avesh Khan to rise up in addition to Krunal and seasoned Amit Mishra.
LSG saw MI lose to Chennai Super Kings relatively handily here in the preliminary round after their batting misfired. They would aim to take advantage of the weakness and deny the team that has been unable to have a strong speed bowling attack without Jasprit Bumrah and Jofra Archer.
Despite Rahul's absence, LSG's batting has been strong, and Marcus Stoinis' (368 runs in 14 games) big-hitting has helped the team easily qualify for the playoffs.
Kyle Mayers (361 runs) and Nicholas Pooran (358) contributed a Caribbean flavor to LSG's success and were key cogs in it. The result of the game would depend on how they perform at the Chepauk, which has a history of producing slow-moving pitches.
Prior to the wheels coming off in LSG's loss to CSK early in the league round, Mayers had played effectively at the plate. Half the battle will be won if he can get the squad going right away.
Given that he has been in excellent form, his fellow West Indian, Pooran, would be expected to play a larger part in the middle order and would be optimistic about his prospects.
Piyush Chawla, the bowling department's surprising hero with 20 wickets so far, would want to use his expertise for the Mumbai Indians, while Jason Behrendorff (14) has performed well whenever called upon. It is impossible to overstate how important they are to the team, especially in a tight game.
Lucknow Super Giants: Krunal Pandya (c), Ayush Badoni, Karan Sharma, Manan Vohra, Quinton de Kock, Marcus Stoinis, Krishnappa Gowtham, Deepak Hooda, Kyle Mayers, Avesh Khan, Mohsin Khan, Mark Wood, Mayank Yadav, Ravi Bishnoi, Nicholas Pooran, Yash Thakur, Romario Shepherd, Daniel Sams, Amit Mishra, Prerak Mankad, Swapnil Singh, Naveen-ul-Haq, Yudhvir Charak and Karun Nair.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Chris Jordan, Arshad Khan, Jason Behrendorff, Dewald Brevis, Piyush Chawla, Tim David, Raghav Goyal, Cameron Green, Ishan Kishan (wk), Duan Jansen, Chris Jordan, Kumar Kartikeya, Akash Madhwal, Riley Meredith, Shams Mulani, Ramandeep Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Hrithik Shokeen, Tristan Stubbs, Arjun Tendulkar, Tilak Varma, Vishnu Vinod, Nehal Wadhera, Suryakumar Yadav.
Match begins at 7:30 p.m.