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CHENNAI: Lucknow Super Giants' Marcus Stoinis (C) celebrates with teammates after his team's win at the end of the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Chennai Super Kings and Lucknow Super Giants at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. -- AFP
CHENNAI: Lucknow Super Giants' Marcus Stoinis (C) celebrates with teammates after his team's win at the end of the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Chennai Super Kings and Lucknow Super Giants at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. -- AFP
Unbeaten Stoinis ton helps Lucknow chase 211 to beat CSK
Stoinis ‘knew long ago’ about Australia contract axe

CHENNAI: Australia’s Marcus Stoinis hit an unbeaten 124 as Lucknow Super Giants chased down a target of 211 with six wickets and three balls to spare against Chennai Super Kings on Tuesday. It was Stoinis’ first IPL century and his second in T20 cricket, trumping an unbeaten 108 by Chennai skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad at his home M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.

Lucknow looked in trouble at 88-3 after 11 overs but Stoinis put on 70 runs with Nicholas Pooran, who hit 34 off 15 balls, and an unbeaten 65-run stand with Deepak Hooda to achieve victory in 19.3 overs. Stoinis reached his hundred in 56 balls as he and Hooda, who made 17 not out off six balls, secured Lucknow’s second straight win over Chennai, replacing the five-time winners in fourth spot. Needing 17 to win in the final over, Stoinis smashed Mustafizur Rahman for a six and three fours, including one off a no ball.

“Tough pill to swallow, but good game of cricket,” said Gaikwad. “LSG played really well in the back end. We had the game in control till 13-14 overs, but Stoinis played a great innings.” Stoinis walked in in the first over after Quinton de Kock’s departure for a duck and paced his innings to perfection as he hit 13 fours and six sixes in his 63-ball knock.

It was the highest score by a batsman while chasing in the IPL. Hooda said Stoinis “played like a warrior, he is a kind of motivation to us”. Sri Lanka pace bowler Matheesha Pathirana took two wickets including the dangerous Pooran.

Chennai posted 210-4 courtesy of Gaikwad’s second IPL ton and a 104-run stand between the captain and Shivam Dube, who smashed 66, after the hosts were invited to bat first. Gaikwad took on the opposition attack despite losing Ajinkya Rahane and Daryl Mitchell and raised his hundred from 56 balls with a six and four.

Gaikwad became only the third Chennai player after India’s Murali Vijay and Australia’s Shane Watson to hit two IPL tons and moved to second in this season’s batting chart with 349 runs. Royal Challengers Bengaluru star Virat Kohli tops the chart with 379 runs. Dube got to his fifty with a four and a six before being run out in the final over, which saw veteran M.S. Dhoni walk out to a rousing reception and hit a four off the final ball.

Meanwhile, Marcus Stoinis on Tuesday said he knew in advance about his omission from the Cricket Australia contract list, but will be keen to play the T20 World Cup in June. The all-rounder, along with Ashton Agar, was left out of the new list of contracts for 2024-25 after 23 players were awarded deals by the country’s cricket board last month.

“I’ve got a great relationship with the coach, me not getting a contract, I knew that long ago,” Stoinis said after he hit a match-winning unbeaten 124 for Lucknow Super Giants against Chennai Super Kings in the IPL. “It’s great to let the kids come in and get an opportunity, I’m happy to let them take my spot.”

Up and coming fast bowler Xavier Bartlett was rewarded with a contract for the first time after playing just one T20 international and two ODI matches for Australia in February. However Stoinis remains hopeful of going to the West Indies and the United States for T20’s showpiece event starting June 1. “But on the playing front, I’d like to play and contribute,” said Stoinis after being named man of the match in his team’s six-wicket victory over Chennai. — AFP

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