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Krunal, Pooran lift LSG to 199/8 against Punjab Kings

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Lucknow, Mar 30 (PTI) Floater Krunal Pandya's late blitz powered Lucknow Super Giants to a competitive 199/8 in their Indian Premier League match against Punjab Kings here on Saturday.

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Asked to bat first, opener Quinton de Kock top-scored for LSG with a 38-ball 54 but it was stand-in skipper Nicholas Pooran's 21-ball 42, which infused life into his team's innings in the middle overs.

On the back of two sixes and four boundaries, Krunal then scored at a strike rate of 200 to finish on a 22-ball 43 and give his side extra cushion.

De Kock got the LSG innings underway with a splendid drive through mid-off for a boundary.

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Playing the game as 'impact player' having handed over the leadership responsibility to Nicholas Pooran, KL Rahul didn't look convincing as he tried to flick Kagiso Rabada behind square on the leg-side.

Running in from a long way, a diving Harshal Patel made a valiant attempt to latch on to the ball but Rahul was lucky as the fielder could not pull off what would have been a blinder.

At the other end, De Kock was in his elements as he flayed Rabada over point for a four in the first delivery he faced from the South African speedster.

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Next ball de Kock did one better, as he opened the face of the bat to whack Rabada over the backward point boundary for a six.

Rahul drove Arshdeep Singh down the ground for a maximum, and then, smashed another delivery in a similar fashion, but that fetched him a four.

Arshdeep, however, exacted his revenged when the left-arm seamer had the LSG batter caught by Jonny Bairstow at backward point for a nine-ball 15.

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Devdutt Padikkal got himself two boundaries before being dismissed by Sam Curran.

Marcus Stoinis (19) hit two sixes before being bowled by Rahul Chahar as he looked to hoick the spinner on the on-side.

That brought Pooran into the middle and the West Indian quickly got into the groove, hitting Chahar for two sixes and a four for a 20-run over, which gave LSG's run rate a much-needed impetus.

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Meanwhile, De Kock brought up his half century in 34 balls but a strategic timeout broke LSG's momentum as the left-handed South African batter top-edged a short Arshdeep delivery for wicketkeeper Jitesh Sharma to complete an easy catch.

Pooran kept the scoreboard moving at a good rate until he dragged a Rabada delivery onto the stumps, a big blow for LSG at a crucial juncture.

New man Krunal Pandya did not waste any time to settle down, brilliantly dispatching a short Rabada delivery over midwicket for a maximum.

Curran bowled a tight 17th over to halt LSG's charge, but Krunal got a flurry of boundaries to prop up LSG. PTI AH AM AH AM AM

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