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KXIP skipper hopes to return in only coaching capacity next year
By IPL Staff
Dharamsala 20 May 2012
After the Kings XI Punjab lost their last match of IPL 2012, their skipper Adam Gilchrist said that could be the end of his cricket playing career. Gilchrist led KXIP during the team’s six-wicket loss against the Delhi Daredevils at Dharamsala on May 19, which ended the Mohali franchise’s playoff aspirations.
"I would say I've played my last game of cricket just there," Gilchrist said after the match. "I'll go away and have a think about it and talk to the franchise. If the franchise is still keen to keep me involved as coach, which is a role I've really enjoyed, I find that I still enjoy being around the group. To be honest, I didn't miss the cricket that much.
"I loved the fact that I could play the last couple of games, but I didn't have the horrible desire that I was missing out. There isn't that fire burning in my belly quite like it used to [be]. I have to think about it, but I just feel I won't be playing."
Gilchrist missed almost a month of the IPL due to a hamstring injury but remained involved with the team in the capacity of a mentor. The former Australian wicketkeeper-batsman, who retired from international cricket in 2008, led the Deccan Chargers to the IPL title in 2009, before taking up the captaincy of KXIP in 2011. In the current season, he has assumed the role of a captain-cum-coach of the team.
KXIP missed out on a playoffs berth with their last defeat. While disappointed with the end result, Gilchrist took heart from the performances of his young players. "To miss the playoffs was disappointing. But there were some positives, especially the performance of some of the domestic players. Mandeep Singh, Gurkeerat Singh, Parvinder Awana... They've all done well and the exciting thing is that there's still scope for them to learn, improve, develop and make that adjustment to the next level."
In 67 IPL games, Gilchrist has scored 1,775 runs at 27.73 and a strike-rate of 140.20. He’s one of the three batsmen to score two IPL centuries and he also has 10 fifties under his belt. The legendary wicketkeeper-batsman said the tournament will hold an important part in the wealth of cricket memories he’s acquired over the years.
"The IPL will feature prominently in my memories of cricket. To come [back] with a team [Deccan Chargers] that was last the previous year and win the title was very special. One of the great memories of my cricket career was at this ground last year – that partnership [206 against Royal Challengers Bangalore] with Shaun [Marsh]. So yeah, it has been a great experience."
The Mumbai Indians will want to wind up the league phase the way they began IPL 2012; in the opening fixture of DLF IPL 2012, MI caused an upset of sorts when they defeated the Chennai Super Kings in their own backyard. They will hope to get the better of the Rajasthan Royals in their “fortress” in the final league fixture of the season.
Harbhajan Singh’s team should consider themselves fortunate to have made it to the playoffs; his team has nine wins so far; in six of those nine wins, they barely made it past the finish line. In their most recent outing against the Kolkata Knight Riders, they faltered in their chase of 141, and fell short by 32 runs.
For the Rajasthan Royals (who lost their previous match against Kings XI Punjab), this contest offers a chance to finish the season on a high. Rahul Dravid’s team may lack the star appeal some of the other teams have, but they’ve certainly performed way above expectations and have made optimum use of the resources at their disposal. When
Sunday, May 20, 2012, 08:00 p.m.
Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
Keep an eye on Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Dravid – as individuals and as a pair – in the Rajasthan Royals line-up. The most consistent opening pair in IPL 2012, both players have gone off the boil in the last few matches. They will want to come good in this final fixture and sign off on a good note.
Keep an eye on Shane Watson too. The Australian, who has impressive all-round numbers while playing at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, will want to finish the season on a high too.
Sachin Tendulkar has scored only one half-century this season; and given the importance of this match and the matches to come, expect him to produce something spectacular. The Little Master and Rohit Sharma are among the key performers in the Mumbai Indians top order. Meanwhile, Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard will be key players in the closing stages of the innings.
Among the bowlers, keep an eye on the two speedsters – Lasith Malinga and Shaun Tait. The former – the leading wicket-taker in the IPL – continues to torment batsmen with his sling-arm action and his toe-crushers, while the latter can bowl quick and run through sides singlehandedly.
Where historical meetings between the Rajasthan Royals and the Mumbai Indians are concerned, there’s very little that separates the two teams; both have won four matches apiece, while the second meeting in the 2009 season (at Durban) had to be abandoned because of poor weather.
In their most recent encounter, at the Wankhede Stadium earlier this season, the hosts – powered by Kieron Pollard’s maiden IPL half-century – posted 197 for six and then bowled out RR for 170, to win by 27 runs.
The Mumbai Indians have the lowest scoring rate of the nine competing teams in IPL 2012 – 7.34.
The Mumbai Indians have conceded the most runs through wides in IPL 2012 – 77.
The Rajasthan Royals have posted the most 50-plus partnerships this season – 15.
This match will be the end of the road for the Rajasthan Royals as far as IPL 2012 is concerned, while the Mumbai Indians will be seen in action in the playoffs.