Evin Lewis, who looks to Chris Gayle for inspiration, hit, or rather, the ball like the legendary Jamaican to lead Lucknow Super Giants to an incredible victory over Chennai Super Kings in the IPL on Thursday. Lewis shot away to an unbeaten 23-ball 55 when LSG, from a hopeless situation, overshot an imposing 211 goal with three balls left. Openers KL Rahul (40) and Quinton de Kock (61) laid the groundwork with a compelling standard, but the increasing speed required made the task extremely difficult for LSG.
However, Lewis had other ideas and together with the talented Ayush Badoni, who played his part with a nine-ball 19, it ended up looking pretty straightforward.
The script changed completely in an instant when Lewis and Badoni crushed Shivam Dube in the penultimate for 25 to narrow the equation down to nine of the last six balls.
Sure, handing the ball to Dube to throw the 19th over will be discussed for a while.
In all, Lewis hit six fours and three sixes as first-timers LSG scored their first win in the lucrative competition. Badoni achieved two maximums, which turned out to be crucial in the context of the final result.
Previously, leg spinner Ravi Bishnoi (2/24) did a great job with the wet ball in difficult conditions, even as Robin Uthappa turned back the clock with his beautiful but brutal attack to propel CSK to a strong total.
Rahul and de Kock were on their way to a flyer and punish the CSK bowlers into submission.
The duo was destructive at best, only trading in fours and sixs and at one point it looked like they would soon finish the game.
But Dwaine Pretorius (2/31) was spot on as he got rid of Rahul before Dwayne Bravo (1/35) arranged Manish Pandey’s sack to get the defending champion back in the game.
Pretorius struck again and took on compatriot de Kock while CSK continued to exert pressure with good fielding.
Then Lewis joined forces with Badoni to do the job for LSG.
With only nine required in the final left and Mukesh Choudhary throwing a pair, Badoni hit a six to tie the score and then took his side over the line.
Previously, Uthappa fluently scored 50 off 27 balls to give CSK a solid start before Dube made 49 out of 30 deliveries, while skipper Ravindra Jadeja (17 out of 9) and MS Dhoni (16 out of 6), who hit two fours and a six, ensured before the last bloom.
Uthappa looked like a man on a mission as he hit Avesh Khan (2/38) for back-to-back boundaries from the first two balls of the innings.
He hit it all over the park with the ball hitting the bat nicely.
CSK were dealt a blow when a direct hit by Bishnoi from the back end marked the end of Ruturaj Gaikwad (1), who was well below the fold in the third over.
But Uthappa, and new man Moeen Ali (35), continue the attack by only dividing into fours and sixs.
The Super Giants bowlers had no answer for the duo as CSK raced to 73 for one at the end of the Powerplay.
In total, Uthappa hit eight fours and one maximum, while Moeen hit four limits and two sixes during his 22-ball stint.
It was Bishnoi again who made the second breakthrough when he earlier caught Uthappa’s leg with a quick pitch, shortly after the batter reached fifty.
Dube picked up where Uthappa left, breaking three boundaries on Dushmantha Chameera (0/49), who struggled with his line, in the ninth over. It was a bad day for the Sri Lankan as he repeatedly fiddled with the ball in the field and gave away easy boundaries.
With the bowlers struggling after getting nothing from the wicket, sloppy fielding made matters worse for LSG.
Dube and Ambati Rayudu (27) then split a 60-run tie to keep CSK on course for a big total.
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