PBKS vs LSG: Sharma scripts LSG slide & Bishnoi smiles and winces

The name of the franchise may change, and so can the skipper, coaching staff and teammates, but Sandeep Sharma seems to be a permanent feature of the Punjab franchise. His role also seldom changes – bowling most of his overs upfront when his predominantly inswing offerings are often difficult to negotiate. But when the ball loses its shine, his lack of express pace makes him vulnerable against the long handle.

Friday was also going to script. Sharma bowled the second, fourth and seventh overs as KL Rahul, Quinton de Kock and Deepak Hooda found him tough to line up, the ball beating the edge on several occasions. The three overs went for just eight runs, but Sharma has often seen initial good work spoilt in the later overs. When he was brought back in the 13th over, something similar was expected with Hooda and De Kock set at the crease.

With the first three balls going for nine runs – more than what Sharma had conceded in his first three overs – there would have been a sense of déjà vu. But then De Kock feathered an edge to Jitesh Sharma behind the stumps and walked even though the umpire turned the appeal down.

Final figures of 1/18 from four overs are nothing to be scoffed at, especially when the wicket precipitated a collapse that reduced Lucknow Super Giants to 111/6 from 98/1.

Bishnoi smiles, Bishnoi winces

Ravi Bishnoi, whose run-up gives the air of a boy running away, clutching a stolen mango from the grove, winced when he realised he had over-stepped and had to bowl a free hit ball to the big-hitter Liam Livingstone. It was perfect way for Livingstone, who was yet to get off the mark, to have a free swing without any second thoughts. Instead, Bishnoi served a 109.1 pacy skidder that burst through to crash into the stumps even before Livingstone could get his bat down. But Livingstone would have his payback next over, when he skimmed down the track to blast the ball for successive sixes over long-off and long-on. Bishnoi’s wince returned.

Until that over, Bishnoi, who had an average outings in the last three games, was looking good. In his first over, he bowled a full one that straightened on the middle stump to beat Shikhar Dhawan’s slog sweep. He fell in love with the art of legspin after watching Shane Warne and has said that he would like to produce a big leg break akin to Warne’s ball of century that got Mike Gatting. For that though, he might well have to change his action; as things stand he is mainly a googly bowler who gets the ball to straighten on occasions.

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