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Lucknow Super Giants' Krunal Pandya watches the ball after playing a shot during the Indian Premier League match against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow. Image Credit: AFP

Lucknow: Krunal Pandya’s all-round show was a major catalyst in Lucknow Super Giants registering a comfortable five-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in their second home game of IPL 2023 at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium on Friday.

Krunal was undoubtedly the pick of the bowlers for Lucknow, constantly attacking the stumps to pick a tidy 3-18 in his four overs. He then chipped in with 34 off 23 balls and shared a 55-run partnership off 38 balls for the third wicket with captain K.L. Rahul, who top-scored with 35, to complete a chase of 122 with four overs to spare.

After getting the Player of the Match award, Krunal credited the clarity he had for things to fall into place for him to get his first instance of scoring above 30 and taking a three-fer in an IPL game.

Bowl early

“Very good day at the office. Both (wickets and runs) pleased me. Everything was special today. (SRH) having more right-handers, I knew I was going to bowl early. Once you have clarity, things automatically fall into place,” he said in the post-match presentation ceremony.

Krunal also revealed that in the run-up to the tournament, he had taken a break from the game to work on his all-round skills. “Last four or five months I took a break from cricket. I just worked on my skills, especially on bowling. Worked on my action... wanted to get that arm ball going.”

“Pretty much-enjoying batting. Trying to recollect my first few years in IPL where I was batting at No. 4 for Mumbai. I am absolutely okay with any track (to bowl upon)!”

Rahul stated that his team knew about the pitch they were going to play on the day before the game. “(We realised) yesterday how the wicket was going to play! We knew what we were getting into. We saw in the first couple of overs: when Jaydev bowled a few cutters, they were gripping.”

“I knew KP’s (Krunal Pandya) better in the powerplay. Both (wins) were hard work... had different challenges. We have been here for a few weeks. Just a general chat with the batsmen; each person plays differently.”

Veteran leg-spinner Amit Mishra took 2-23, but the standout moment was his diving full length to his left to grab a stunning catch of Rahul Tripathi with both hands at short third man.

Feeling good

“Feeling good. I’ve done a lot of hard work, especially in fielding. That’s my bowling style (bowling slower). I was just trying to vary my pace and bowl slower. Whatever I can do, I’m doing in the fielding! I got some time on that (the catch)! The red soil has little bounce and less spin; black soil was slower and lower, though not turning much.”

For Aiden Markram, his first game as captain of Hyderabad ended in a defeat apart from being bowled by Krunal for a golden duck, leaving the 2016 IPL champions winless in the competition. “Not enough. That 150-160 mark, and we would have been in the game.”

“We realised it wasn’t going to be a great wicket for batting... happy to fight it out and scratch away. Good effort (with the ball). They tried hard and fought. It’s a new game of cricket starting for us on Sunday.”