As Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) hurtled towards a huge defeat in the Indian Premier League (IPL) Eliminator against Mumbai Indians (MI) on Wednesday, May 24, the cameras panned to mentor Gautam Gambhir multiple times.
The former India opener tried hard to contain his disappointment as LSG batters literally handed the knockout match to MI on a platter. His crestfallen expression, however, gave it all away.
Mumbai Indians won the toss and opted to bat first in the must-win clash at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. To their credit, LSG’s bowlers did well to restrict the five-time champions to 182/8. Not a single Mumbai batter registered a half-century. Cameron Green top-scored with 41 off 23, while Suryakumar Yadav contributed 33 off 20.
There were a couple of highly impressive performances by LSG in the pace department. Naveen-ul-Haq claimed 4/38, including the scalps of Rohit Sharma, Green and Suryakumar. Yash Thakur also had another good game, registering figures of 3/34.
At the halfway stage, Lucknow would have believed they were in with a genuine chance of chasing down the target. However, the batters put up a shabby show to stun their fans, the team mentor as well as other members of the support staff.
Barring Marcus Stoinis (40 off 27) no one showed the stomach for a fight. Most of the wickets fell to mistimed strokes. At 74/5, the game was as good as over. But instead of offering some resistance, Lucknow went on to embarrass themselves further.
There were three run-outs in the space of a few deliveries. Batters collided as they were ball watching. There were multiple yes-no situations. One of the run-outs saw both batters ending up at the same end.
A helpless Gambhir could only watch in agony as LSG crumbled to defeat rather listlessly. His shocked expressed captured how it had all gone horribly wrong for the franchise in the Eliminator.
LSG skipper Krunal Pandya takes the blame
Chasing 183, Lucknow Super Giants recovered from a poor start courtesy of 46-run third-wicket stand between skipper Krunal Pandya (8) and Stoinis.
However, once Krunal perished to Piyush Chawla, mistiming a big hit, it all went haywire for the chasing side. They ended up losing eight fo 32 as Akash Madhwal claimed 5/5 in 3.3 overs.
In the post-match presentation, Lucknow captain Krunal admitted that he played a bad shot to get out. He commented:
“We were in a good position at one stage, but everything started (going wrong) when I played that shot, we should have played better cricket. That shot (his wicket) was not on, I completely take the blame for that.
“The ball was coming nicely on to the bat, we just had to bat better.”
After Krunal’s exit, Madhwal sent back Ayush Badoni (1) and Nicholas Pooran (0) off consecutive deliveries. The run out of Stoinis ended any faint hopes Lucknow had of making a comeback in the game.