The weekend T20 cricket fever is about the hit the fans when there will be doubleheader games of the Indian Playerzpot League 2023. The evening encounter will see the Lucknow team take on Delhi in what will be their first league-stage encounter of this season. The clash will take place at the Ekana Sports Stadium on April 1, thus Lucknow will be playing in home ground advantage. Needless to say, both teams would want to start their campaign on a positive note, and therefore the encounter is expected to be an exciting one.

Talk about the history between the two teams, they have faced off each other just twice in the competition with, Lucknow taking away the win on both these occasions. Delhi did move under the radar at the auction and did not spend heavily on talented individuals, rather they got the likes of R. Rossouw, M. Pandey, P. Salt, and M. Kumar. Lucknow, however, was keen on getting hold of N. Pooran and broke the bank in doing so, Pooran cost them a whopping INR 16 crores.

With players in focus, let us take a look at key players to watch out for from both Lucknow and Delhi Teams.

KL. Rahul (Lucknow)

The Lucknow franchise pin all their hope on giving them a good debut season in the hands of KL Rahul. The captain did a pretty good job leading the team to the playoff round and ultimately finishing the 2022 season in the 3rd place. Moreover, on the individual front, he was the team’s leading run scorer with 616 runs. With 3,389 total runs to his name in this competition, he has managed to get three consecutive seasons with 600-plus runs. The talent and skill at the disposal of Lucknow in KL is a morale booster for them and hopefully, he can lead them to further glory.

N. Pooran (Lucknow)

Lucknow made their intention clear about beefing up their batting lineup with an expensive addition of N. Pooran at the auction. Having played a successful role in Caribbean franchise cricket among others, he is now seen as a vital cog of the Lucknow team. The West Indies batter brings in the bag of explosive shots with him and Lucknow will be hoping that they do get a good return on quite a heavy investment. Perhaps they did overshoot in buying him which does put him under the scanners on how well he can perform.

A. Patel (Delhi)

Whether he may like it or not, A. Patel will have to step up this season in absence of R. Pant who is out injured recovering from a major accident. Delhi has put a lot of faith in the all-rounder and will be hoping that he does come up well for the franchise this season. In 2021 he did bag 15 wickets and something along this line are the results expected of him. Axar is quite handy with the bat as well and can do some late damage. If Delhi is flying high this season, chances are Axar Patel will be playing out of his skin.

K. Yadav (Delhi)

A prominent Indian leg spinner, Yadav had to do it the hard way to make his comeback in the national side but this was accelerated when he produced his magic with spin bowling in the 2022 season. He was Delhi’s highest wicket-taker in the 2022 season, bagging a total of 21 in 14 matches. Considering Delhi failed to make it to the playoffs, Yadav was on a good run and they will be hoping that same is replicated this time around. With different pitch conditions this time around, Yadav will be keen to make the most of the conditions.

Predicted Playing X1

Lucknow: KL. Rahul [C], D. Hooda, M. Stoinis, N. Pooran [WK], K. Pandya, A. Badoni, R. Shepherd, J. Unadkat, R. Bishnoi, M. Wood, A. Khan

Delhi: D. Warner [C], P. Shaw, R. Rossouw, R. Powell, M. Marsh, S. Khan [WK], A. Patel, L. Yadav, M, Kumar, K. Yadav, C. Sakariya

Fantasy X1

Wicket-keeper – N. Pooran

Batters – KL Rahul, D. Warner, P. Shaw, D. Hooda

All-rounders – K. Pandya, A. Patel

Bowlers – K. Yadav, C. Sakariya, R. Bishnoi, A. Khan

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