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KXIP all-rounder exudes confidence ahead of must-win match against DD
By Hoshedar N. Gundevia
Dharamsala 17 May 2012
Considered as also-rans even before the IPL started, Kings XI Punjab have done their bit to make sure they are battle ready after every defeat. Their team might be lacking star names, but their spirit shines bright amongst playoff hopefuls. KXIP’s Pakistan-born all-rounder Azhar Mahmood has been a revelation since he was bought for USD 200,000 in the 2012 IPL Player Auction. With valuable runs and wickets in the IPL so far, Mahmood is proving to be a real bargain buy.
KXIP’s final league match against the Delhi Daredevils is a must-win game. With their backs against the wall, Mahmood and co. have always managed to perform, and the talented all-rounder is confident of turning the Daredevils over in Dharamsala on May 19. Excerpts from the brief chat with KXIP star Azhar Mahmood:
Does the win agsinst the Chennai Super Kings give the team extra motivation to perform against DD?
Beating CSK is a big boost for us. We are playing good cricket and credit goes to all the bowlers. [Parvinder] Awana, PK [Praveen Kumar], [Ryan] Harris and I bowled well. Gilly [Adam Gilchrist] batted brilliantly, and it was a great team performance. We have to win another game and let’s see where we stand after that. How is your debut IPL season going so far?
Its brilliant and I am enjoying my cricket with the bat and the bowl. It’s been a great experience as the crowd is amazing and hospitality as well. I cannot ask for more. How is it playing in the Dharamsala?
It’s my first time here and it’s a brilliant ground and a nice wicket to bowl on. It reminds me of my home town in Islamabad. We have got four club grounds in Islamabad very similar to this. What is it like for you to play for KXIP who are considered to be underdogs?
I am thankful to the franchise and the owners who bid for me and picked me. It does not matter which team I play for, all I want is to perform and people to appreciate that. That is what is happening with me right now and I am quite pleased with that. We are underdogs, still we have managed to beat all the big teams. We always believed in our game and played hard cricket.
What sort of influence has Adam Gilchrist had on you?
He is a phenomenal guy and a great human being. I have got a lot of respect for him. As a player, nobody needs to say anything about him and the way he batted today was brilliant. He was out for six-seven games and he came back with a bang, which shows how good a player he is. What do you think about the must-win game against DD?
Unfortunately, in the last game against them, we were 15 to 20 runs short, but we still managed to take the game to the 19th over with the ball. It was not a bad performance. They have got a good fast bowling side as well. So anything can happen. We are confident and we will have to fight hard and play smart cricket.
CSK all-rounder says his team may qualify for playoffs despite losing to KXIP
By Hoshedar N. Gundevia
Dharamsala 17 May 2012
The Chennai Super Kings’ destiny is no longer in their hands. Their six-wicket loss againstKings XI Punjabensured that CSK will have to hope and pray that other results go in their favour for them to secure a playoff berth. Inconsistency has plagued the reigning IPL champions this season with their big players failing to live up to their standards. But one player who has performed with distinction is Albie Morkel. The all-rounder has been scintillating with the bat whenever called upon, while with the ball, he’s been steady.
The big-hitting all-rounder revealed in an exclusive interview with iplt20.com that CSK still believe in their playoffs chances despite the loss against KXIP in Dharamsala. Excerpts:
What are your thoughts on today’s comprehensive loss?
We are not out of it, but we have to wait for the other outcomes now. It is not the way we wanted. We would have liked to qualify by winning. Today, we got beaten by a better side. There were few games we should have and could have won.
Do you have enough points to make it to the playoffs?
We still have a chance. [Royal Challengers] Bangalore have got a tough game tonight and it is going to be a big result for us. We also have to keep our eyes on RR who are playing some good and consistent cricket. What’s hurt CSK the most this season?
We have not been consistent throughout the tournament. We have played only a couple of complete games where we have done well in all the three departments. We have had success for the last four years and we are still not out of it, so let’s hope... What’s the secret behind your power hitting?
I don’t think it’s a secret. As you see, I am not the biggest guy around, so I guess it’s bit of power, bat swing and timing.
Do you think you are underestimated as a batsman?
I don’t think “underestimate” is a right word. I have a role in the team and that is to finish. I get to bat the last five overs, and in India it is tough as the wickets are slow. So it is difficult to hit from ball one. In the ideal world everyone wants to bat in the top three or four, but that is not going to happen. Can Morne Morkel help you by turning over KXIP on May 19?
The wicket is going to be the same and Morne is going to be interesting to watch as he has got good bounce. It’s almost like the Durban wicket in South Africa and certainly the quickest wicket I have played in India. People who are not used to bounce, it is difficult for them to bat here.