Feature

An excellent debut season, but Lucknow Super Giants must fix their one-dimensional batting

Curiously, they didn't lose a single match to teams that didn't make the playoffs but lost each time to the ones that did

Hemant Brar
Hemant Brar
28-May-2022
Krunal Pandya celebrates after taking Hardik Pandya's wicket, Gujarat Titans vs Lucknow Super Giants, IPL 2022, Mumbai, March 28, 2022

Lucknow Super Giants made it to the playoffs in their maiden IPL season  •  Ron Gaunt  /  BCCI

Where they finished
Lucknow Super Giants were tied with Rajasthan Royals on 18 points at the end of the league stage, but their inferior net run rate meant they finished third, and had to play the Eliminator, which they lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Season in a nutshell
For a side making its first appearance in the IPL, qualifying for the playoffs was an excellent result. At the auction, they had packed their squad with allrounders and, therefore, were never short of bowling options in any situation. However, their batting largely revolved around captain KL Rahul, Quinton de Kock and Deepak Hooda, and at times, they seemed to be missing a proper middle-order enforcer. But it could also be argued that they failed to utilise Evin Lewis and Marcus Stoinis properly.
Super Giants had a lopsided record when it came to winning. When batting first, they won seven out of eight games, but they were successful only twice in seven chases. Similarly, against the teams that didn't make it to the playoffs, they won nine out of nine games. Against those who did, they lost all six.
Questionable move
Rahul's lack of intent with the bat in the Eliminator. Despite possessing extra gears, he dragged along for 79 off 58 balls when his side was chasing 208. Eventually, Super Giants fell short by 14, and Rahul's knock only added more fuel to his critics, who have long held that he should look to bat quicker and not necessarily longer.
Find of the season
Mohsin Khan emerged as one of the most impressive Indian seamers - capped or uncapped - in the tournament. His height, the left-arm angle, the hard lengths, and seam movement made it difficult for batters to score off him. He bowled the heavy ball as well as the slower ones and picked up 14 wickets from nine games. His economy of 5.96 was second only to Sunil Narine's 5.57 (among those who bowled at least ten overs in the tournament).
Notable mentions
Hooda had his most successful IPL season to date, notching up 451 runs at an average of 32.21 and a strike rate of 136.66. He batted everywhere from No. 3 to No. 6 but never looked out of position. Avesh Khan continued his good form with the ball. Despite missing two games with a niggle, he finished as the leading wicket-taker for Super Giants with 18 strikes at an economy of 8.72.

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo