Lucknow Super Giants has emerged as a force in its debut season in the Indian Premier League and will be keen to carry the momentum when it faces Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Eliminator at the Eden Gardens here on Wednesday.
Super Giants, who narrowly missed out on a Qualifier 1 berth, will be eager to achieve the twin targets of avenging its defeat to Royal Challengers in the group stage and staying alive in the tournament.
Guided by mentor Gautam Gambhir and coach Andy Flower, Super Giants has used its trademark aggression to notch up some sensational wins.
Captain K.L. Rahul, who is second on the scorers list with 537 runs (including two hundreds), and Quinton de Kock, who blasted a breathtaking unbeaten 140 in the last match, are in super touch. Deepak Hooda is an asset, while all-rounders Krunal Pandya and Marcus Stoinis are known for making valuable contributions.
The Super Giants attack — comprising Avesh Khan (17 wickets), Jason Holder, Mohsin Khan and Ravi Bishnoi — has the potential to disturb any batting order.
Royal Challengers, who made it to the playoffs for the third consecutive season after Mumbai Indians ousted Delhi Capitals, were troubled by inconsistency in the middle phase. Nevertheless, they have the potential to beat the best.
While skipper Faf du Plessis (443 runs) has gathered the majority of RCB’s runs, Virat Kohli has contributed 309 in a subdued season. Dinesh Karthik has impressed with his magnificent re-emergence as a finisher.
Glenn Maxwell and Shahbaz Ahmed’s all-round skills give the team flexibility.
Sri Lankan spinner Wanindu Hasaranga (overall second with 24 scalps) has served Royal Challengers well. Pacers Harshal Patel (18 wickets) and Josh Hazelwood (15) have shone brightly even as Mohammed Siraj has impressed occasionally.
Royal Challengers will try to make the most of its lucky break in order to finish the season on a high.