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2.00 Praveen Kumar’s economy – the best for any bowler in a four-over spell in IPL 2012. Dale Steyn had achieved an economy rate of 2.50 against Mumbai Indians on April 29.
4 Number of consecutive away games won by Kings XI Punjab. On the other hand, they have lost three consecutive games at home.
9 Number of times a side has ended a match on a winning note with a six in IPL 2012 – this was the first such instance for Kings XI Punjab. They were at the receiving end against Kolkata Knight Riders on April 18.
251 Number of sixes hit by Chris Gayle in Twenty20s. He became the first batsman to hit 250 sixes in this format. 407 Gayle’s run tally in IPL 2012. He became the third player after Ajinkya Rahane (458) and Virender Sehwag (445) to cross the 400-run mark in IPL 2012.
“Indian Premier League – Where talent meets opportunity.” Nitin Saini, the Kings XI Punjab wicketkeeper-batsman, knows the significance of these words. Drafted into the playing XI to replace the injured Adam Gilchrist, Saini failed to convert starts a couple of times. But the faith and the freedom afforded by the team management has finally paid off. Saini scored his first IPL fifty against the crack bowling attack of RCB to enable his team chase down a tricky 159.
The 23-year-old from Rohtak was beaming after his team’s four-wicket win as he said, “The mood has been just amazing. I cannot put it in words”. For his own performance, he credited his childhood hero and the mentor of KXIP, Adam Gilchrist in a chat with iplt20.com. You’ve got many opportunities in this season. Are you happy to finally make it count?
Finally, I got some runs today. Initially, I got off to a good start in a couple of games, but missed on to the opportunities. Luckily, I got it today. You can’t ask for a better mentor than Adam Gilchrest being a wicketkeeper-batsman yourself. How has he been helping you?
He is my favourite wicketkeeper-batsman. He has just been asking me to wait for my opportunities and telling me that things will fall in place for me. He just asked me to play my natural game and backed me completely, and I got the result. You’re now giving him a tough competition to make it to the playing XI.
That’s not true. It’s very difficult to fill in his shoes. I am just trying to make my own place. He is irreplaceable, and we all know it. Chasing a tricky target against a quality bowling attack like RCB, how did you pace your innings?
I have played a lot of games in this ground, so I know that everything is chaseable here if you play positively. It’s a very good wicket to bat on and we knew that we can chase this target down if we bat to our potential. Our top order got some runs and we managed to pull it through. We did collapse a bit in the later overs; but that’s just cricket.
Were you all biting your nails in the dugout when there was a flurry of run-outs?
Cricket is a crazy game and you never know from which situation you can go where. I was a bit scared; but that’s just cricket. You and Mandeep Singh have been performing well this season. What is it that brings the best out of you?
It’s freedom as well as the motivation we get. We are replacing such good players that we can’t even think of replacing them if they are fit. It’s just a good opportunity to prove ourselves that in case we get a chance, we are there to play. It’s a good challenge for young players like us.
You have beaten top teams in their own backyard. How is the mood in the camp?
The mood has been just amazing. I cannot put it in words. This is the best season that KXIP is having. I hope we can carry on the way we are doing it.
Don’t you think there is still a long way to go after seeing the points table?
The table has been very balanced this year. You never know which team will make it through to the playoffs. It’s very tricky as well, so you can’t take any game lightly; and its good for the IPL.