Lucknow Super Giants’ middle-order batter Nicholas Pooran has given credit for his team’s thrilling last-ball win against Royal Challengers Bangalore to brilliant last over bowled by pacer Mark Wood, which restricted the home team to 212.
Wood gave away only 9 runs off the final over and also took the important wicket of a rampaging Glenn Maxwell and in the context of the game, that was a praiseworthy effort.
LSG, despite losing three wickets in Powerplay with just 23 runs on the board, managed to win the game by one wicket on Monday night, with the West Indian middle-order batter scoring a 19-ball 62, and blasting the fastest half-century in IPL 2023 off just 15 deliveries.
His 84-run partnership with Ayushi Badoni was the cornerstone of the team’s morale-boosting win against Faf du Plessis’s side.
“Obviously, I thought it was a really good cricket pitch. Mark Wood bowled an excellent last over and kept us in the game. Tonight wasn’t a surprise to me. We just felt like it was a good cricket pitch, small boundaries,” said Pooran, while conceding that a target of around 220 would have put his side psychologically under pressure.
“I think, psychologically, chasing 220-odd would have put additional pressure on us, but 213 we felt like the momentum was on our side, It was just that we needed to get that start.” While crediting RCB bowlers Wayne Parnell (3/41) and Mohammed Siraj (3/22) for making early inroads and putting LSG in a spot of bother, Pooran added that every team in the IPL now bats deep and a couple of good partnerships can change the complexion of the game anytime.
“Credit must be given to RCB bowlers Parnell and Siraj; they obviously landed their fullest punch. But, it’s a game of cricket. Everyone has a long batting order and the partnership between KL (Rahul) and Marcus (Stoinis), they batted really well, especially Stoinis… obviously changing the game for us, given us some momentum,” said Pooran.
The 76-run stand between skipper and Stoinis helped LSG overcome the early loss of three wickets and put the team back on track.
Pooran said, when he came in to bat he was not thinking about how bad the situation was but only trying to get into the zone where he could pummel the RCB bowlers.
“It (score) was definitely gettable. Eventually, I didn’t think about the situation (when I came in to bat) tonight. I just felt like I wanted to get in my zone and want to hit a couple out of the park and that got me going, to be honest. I just felt like I had to take that chance against the leg-spinner to get my innings going and I felt like everything just flowed for me after that,” added the 267-year-old left-handed batter.
“Even when (Ayush) Badoni came, he played really well and we were scoring boundaries, scoring at 10-runs an over and in a blink of an eye, the game changes that fast. So, we were able to control the game for a couple of overs from there. We brought down the scoring (rate) from 14 to 10.
However, Pooran was disappointed with himself not playing till the end and scoring the winning runs.
“I got out at the wrong time. Again something, I obviously want to get better at, winning games and playing till the end. Tonight, I fell short and I feel disappointed about that, but happy that we could get the ‘W’,” he said.
Pooran said, his strategy for Monday was to try and break down the game into match-ups and see how best it worked.
“I try to watch the game, break it down, try to be in the moment. Yes, we lost two (three) wickets. The run-rate was up to 15 and we could be out of the game psychologically. But in this game, I just felt that it’s all about partnerships.
“And, when I get into that zone, it’s easier for you to break down the game, you know who are your match-ups, know who you are looking to attack and who you can get those 15-20 from an over, who they are going to bring back to get you out.
“I think that’s how the game should be payed. T20Is a difficult game, experience plays a massive role and I’ve struggled for the last 6-7 years in finishing games. I make wrong decisions, I make bad decisions at the wrong time and of course and I’ve cost my team a lot of games. That was my journey. I’m happy that I can learn from it and come up with a much better performance,” he added.
He also had a word of praise for KKR’s Rinku Singh for showing nothing is impossible. The Uttar Pradesh cricketer smashed five sixes in the last over as KKR defeated Gujarat Titans by three wickets off the last ball of the match.
“I guess we gave ourselves the best chance, the batsmen capitalised on the opportunity. You saw Rinku Singh scoring 30 off the last over the other night. So, the game, it’s never over, there’s a lot of incredible players, incredible batsmen, anything is possible once you are there, considering that the boundaries (at the Chinnaswamy stadium) are small as well.”