Lucknow registers its first season win

Pacer Mayank Yadav came back from a 10-run first over to get Bairstow out with a short ball. He got two more wickets to flatten the opposition’s chase

Lucknow Super Giants’ Mayank Yadav bowls as Punjab Kings’ captain Shikhar Dhawan (L) watches during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Lucknow Super Giants and Punjab Kings at the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on March 30, 2024. (Photo by ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Shajil Kumar

IPL debutant Mayank Yadav turned an unlikely hero after he picked up three crucial wickets to help Lucknow Super Giants to their first season win on Saturday.

Lucknow beat Punjab Kings by 21 runs in their home ground after they posted 199-8, powered by Quinton de Kock’s fifty and a quick-fire 42 by stand-in skipper Nicholas Pooran.

In reply, Punjab finished on 178-5 despite a 102-run opening stand between skipper Shikhar Dhawan (70) and Jonny Bairstow (42).

Yadav, who sent down this season’s fastest delivery of 156km/h, broke the stand with his maiden wicket of Bairstow and returned figures of 3-27 to swing back the momentum in Lucknow’s favour.

“Mayank’s was the story of the night,” said Pooran of his man-of-the-match performer.

“It was an inspiring performance. Every person in the team is happy he got a chance and performed tonight. Was wonderful watching him from mid-off.”

Delhi-born Yadav went to Lucknow for $24,000 last year but failed to turn up after an injury cost him the entire 2023 season.

Yadav came back from a 10-run first over to get Bairstow out with a short ball after the batsman miscued it to deep mid-wicket.

The 21-year-old got two more wickets to flatten the opposition chase.

“Plan was to not be under too much pressure and to bowl at the stumps and use the pace as much as possible,” said Yadav.

“There was the thought to mix up the pace initially but the wicket helped and the skipper told me to bowl gas.”

He said Bairstow’s debut wicket was his “favourite”.

Fellow quick Mohsin Khan took two wickets including Dhawan and Sam Curran, out for a duck, on successive balls as Punjab fell to their second straight loss after an opening win.

The batters set up victory with De Kock’s fifty and a rapid 42 by Pooran helping Lucknow to 199-8.

West Indies star Pooran smashed three fours and three sixes in his 21-ball blitz after regular skipper KL Rahul opted to play only as an opener at his home ground.

De Kock hit 54 to lay the foundations for Lucknow’s total with an attacking start despite losing Rahul in the fourth over.

Rahul, who returned to competitive cricket in the IPL after an injury, led Lucknow in the team’s first loss but took a backseat on home turf and was replaced in the second innings by impact substitute Naveen-ul-Haq.

De Kock put on 47 runs off 27 balls with fellow left-hander Pooran, who took on the opposition attack with hits all around.

De Kock reached his 21st IPL fifty in 34 balls with a boundary off seam bowler Harshal Patel but soon fell to Arshdeep Singh’s left-arm medium-pace.

Lucknow lost regular wickets but Krunal Pandya hit an unbeaten 43 off 22 balls in a late assault, which fired the hosts to match the best total at the venue — Lucknow’s 199-6 against Delhi Capitals last year. (AFP)