Following a thrilling qualifier match that saw Chennai Super Kings secure a spot in the IPL 2023 final, the action continued at Chepauk with the much-anticipated Eliminator between Mumbai Indians and Lucknow SuperGiants. Both teams find themselves in a do-or-die situation, as the losing side will bid farewell to the tournament, while the winner will face the Gujarat Titans in the second Qualifier for a chance to reach the final against CSK.
Mumbai Indians, known for their impressive track record, had their last top-four finish result in an eventual tournament victory. After a three-year absence from the playoffs, they are back at the knockout stage and ready to face Lucknow, who have qualified for the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Despite having never defeated Lucknow in the IPL, Mumbai Indians have a golden opportunity to claim their first victory against the Lucknow-based franchise in this crucial encounter.
Ahead of the eagerly awaited showdown in Chennai, let’s take a look at some key player battles that could shape the outcome of the match.
- Rohit Sharma Vs Krunal Pandya: Former teammates-turned-opponents, Rohit and Krunal will face each other for the second time in IPL 2023. Mumbai Indians’ captain, Rohit, showcased a return to form in the previous match against SRH, scoring a fluent 56 off just 37 balls. However, maintaining consistency has been a challenge for him this season. On the other hand, Krunal has been decent with the ball, claiming 9 wickets in 11 innings. Having had the upper hand over Rohit in the past, Krunal will be eager to dismiss his counterpart in the eliminator clash.
- Deepak Hooda Vs Jason Behrendorff: Jason Behrendorff, the second-highest wicket-taker for Mumbai, has already troubled Hooda in their previous encounter in Lucknow. The Lucknow Super Giants all-rounder has had a below-average season so far, particularly struggling against left-arm fast bowlers. Having been dismissed twice by left-arm pacer Wayne Parnell of RCB, Hooda will face a similar challenge against the talented Behrendorff.
- Suryakumar Yadav Vs Naveen-ul-Haq: Suryakumar Yadav experienced a slow start in IPL 2023, but once he found his rhythm, he has been unstoppable. With 511 runs in 14 innings, including a century and four fifties, Surya is currently the leading run-scorer for Mumbai Indians this season. His matchup against Naveen-ul-Haq, Lucknow Super Giants’ leading pacer, promises to be an exciting battle. Naveen has been a consistent performer, picking up 7 wickets in just 6 innings. Fans can expect fireworks as both players strive to outdo each other.
In addition to these players, two rising stars will be in the spotlight, there are:
Cameron Green: Mumbai Indians made headlines by acquiring Green for a staggering 17.50 crore in last year’s auction, making him the second-costliest buy in IPL history. With crucial half-centuries and a century in must-win matches, Green’s big-hitting abilities have played a significant role in Mumbai Indians’ qualification for the playoffs. While his bowling contributions have been relatively modest, his remarkable tally of 381 runs at a strike-rate of 159.41 has justified the faith the team placed in him. Mumbai Indians will rely on him to maintain his outstanding form in the eliminator.
Nicholas Pooran: Lucknow SuperGiants raised eyebrows when they spent Rs 16 crore on acquiring Nicholas Pooran during the auction last year. Initially, there were doubts about Pooran’s consistent performances to justify such a hefty price tag. However, the tide has turned, and Pooran has finally delivered the explosive performances that his previous IPL teams had hoped for. With 358 runs at an impressive strike rate of 173.78, including 26 fours and an equal number of sixes, Pooran has emerged as a key contributor for Lucknow Super Giants this season. His recent innings against KKR showcased his ability to rescue the team from difficult situations, as he smashed 58 runs off just 30 balls to help LSG recover from 73/5 and post a match-winning total of 176/8.
As the Mumbai Indians and Lucknow SuperGiants prepare for their high-stake clash in the IPL 2023 Eliminator, all eyes will be on these talented players to determine the outcome of this thrilling encounter. Both teams will be eager to give their best, knowing that a victory will keep their championship dreams alive, while defeat will bring an end to their IPL campaign.