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‘He’s a quality batter but…’ – Krunal Pandya explains Quinton De Kock’s absence in IPL 2023 eliminator vs MI

MI thrashed LSG by 81 runs in the Eliminator of IPL 2023

Krunal Panyda and Quinton De Kock, LSG, IPL 2023
Krunal Panyda and Quinton De Kock, LSG, IPL 2023 (Source: Twitter)

The IPL 2023 season of the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) came to an end on Wednesday after the team suffered a crushing 81-run loss to Mumbai Indians (MI) in the Eliminator match played at Chepauk. Akash Madhwal systematically dismantled the Lucknow batting order and finished with a five-wicket haul, greatly contributing to Mumbai’s convincing victory.

LSG changed their starting lineup for the important match and made the audacious choice to bench Quinton de Kock outright. In De Kock’s absence, LSG called Kyle Mayers back into the starting lineup. In the second half of the game, Mayers was used as an impact replacement. The last time LSG played there, Mayers struck a thunderous 50, but he was unable to match that performance and was bowled out by Chris Jordan for 18 from 13 balls in the fourth over.

‘Kyle Mayers has a better record here in Chepauk, so we went ahead with him’ – Krunal Pandya

As they were reduced to 23/2 in the 183-run chase after Mayers’ dismissal, Lucknow was in some trouble, but Krunal Pandya and Marcus Stoinis stabilised matters moving forward. Before Pandya was bowled by Piyush Chawla in the ninth over as he attempted to increase the scoring rate, the partnership put up 46 runs for the third wicket.

With just 42 runs scored by the final seven batters for Lucknow after Pandya’s dismissal, the game was over with 21 balls remaining. During the post-game awards ceremony, Pandya was questioned about the surprise decision to rest De Kock. The LSG captain responded saying, “Quinton de Kock is a quality batter, but Kyle Mayers has a better record here (Chepauk), so we went ahead (in the playing XI) with him.”

If we examine Lucknow’s campaign, De Kock was not included in the starting lineup until KL Rahul was forced to withdraw from the competition due to an injury. The wicketkeeper then opened the innings with Mayers. The team was forced to rely on Indian quicks because Nicholas Pooran and Marcus Stoinis were showing to be valuable middle-order batsmen, but this didn’t work out well for them. They then removed Mayers from the XI before bringing him back in the Eliminator, a move that didn’t pay off much in terms of adding an overseas pacer back into the mix.

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