Mumbai, May 18: Lucknow Super Giants skipper KL Rahul won the toss and elected to bat first against Kolkata Knight Riders in Match 66 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 at the Dr DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday (May 18).
This will be a crucial match for both teams. KKR, who are on 12 points currently, will go home if they lose and will need to win by a huge margin to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. LSG, on the other hand, won't be eliminated if they lose, but a win can seal a second or third spot.
As for team news, LSG has made three changes with Krunal Pandya, Ayush Badoni and Dushmantha Chameera making way for Krishnappa Gowtham, Evin Lewis and Manan Vohra, who makes his debut for the IPL newcomers.
KKR, on the other hand, were forced into one change with injured Ajinkya Rahane being replaced by Abhijeet Tomar, who also makes his debut for the Kolkata-based franchise.
After opting to bat first, LSG skipper Rahul said: "The pitch looks a bit dry. Last few games, it's been tough chasing. We have to be positive, we've done really well in the tournament. We need to start afresh, try to win this game and enjoy. We'll focus all of our energy on this game."
On the middle-order, Rahul added: "We do have quality in the middle-order, everyone's experienced, you trust them to figure it out. We expect them to come back strong and deliver."
On the team news, Rahul said: "We have three changes - Krunal has a niggle, so he sits out. Chameera and Badoni miss out. We've got Vohra, Lewis and Gowtham in."
After being asked to bowl first, KKR captain Shreyas Iyer said: " I would have batted as well. This is going to be our last opportunity for us to express ourselves. Let's do it for the coaches, management and fans. Abhijeet Tomar comes in for Rahane."
This will be the second fixture played between Kolkata Knight Riders and Lucknow Super Giants in the Indian Premier League, with the Super Giants winning the previous encounter by 75 runs at the MCA Stadium in Pune, defending a total of 176.
While Quinton de Kock (50 off 29 balls), Deepak Hooda (41 off 27 balls) and Marcus Stoinis (28 off 14 balls) helped LSG to 176/7, an all-round bowling effort led by Jason Holder (3 for 21) and Avesh Khan (3 for 19) bundled out KKR for 101.
Now, the two teams will clash at the Dr DY Patil Stadium, where LSG has won 2 and lost 1, while KKR has won 3 and lost 2 overall, but have won only 1 of 3 this season at the venue, which has seen teams chasing win 10 of the 19 matches so far.
However, the pitches at the Dr DY Patil has slightly favoured the team batting first in 3 of the last 5 matches that were held since the start of May. And with dew also not hampering the games off late, the captain choosing to have runs on the board rather than chase a target is a no brainer.
Here is what Graeme Swann said at the pitch report ahead of the crucial match for both teams: "It's the 20th and the last game at the DY Patil Stadium this season. Over 6000 runs, nearly 250 wickets - the ground staff have provided brilliant wickets, amazing outfield."
On the ground dimension, Swann added: "We are in the middle of the square today - 70m on one side, 73 on the other side (square boundaries). No worries for the captain or the bowler working out where to put your fielders."
On assist for slow bowlers, Swann said: "As a spinner, I am absolutely licking my lips at this pitch. It has got a bit tired, it's very flat, there's even grass coverage and it is still rock hard. This is going to turn, it's going to grip for the spinners."
On what the captain should chose, Swann concluded: "The team winning the toss should bat first. If you can get to 155-160 on this pitch, you are in the game."
Playing 11s for IPL 2022, Match 66, KKR vs LSG:
KKR: Venkatesh Iyer, Abhijeet Tomar, Shreyas Iyer (captain), Nitish Rana, Sam Billings (wicketkeeper), Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Umesh Yadav, Tim Southee, Varun Chakaravarthy
LSG: Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), KL Rahul (captain), Evin Lewis, Deepak Hooda, Manan Vohra, Marcus Stoinis, Jason Holder, Krishnappa Gowtham, Mohsin Khan, Avesh Khan, Ravi Bishnoi