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Two-time champions Chennai Super Kings will be keen to get a win under their belt when the face off against Kings XI Punjab at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium. The MS Dhoni-led side come to Mohali on the back of a loss to the Mumbai Indians in Chennai, but are a side that are known for their ability to come from behind and pull a rabbit out of the hat.
While addressing the media ahead of the game, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who has been in superb form in the past season, said that the loss hasn’t had too much of an impact on the team’s morale with 15 matches still to be played in the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013.
“Everyone is positive about the tournament and have been preparing well. Although we lost the last match we had fought hard. Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni) played a very good innings to take the game to the last over. This is a long tournament and it will be too early to say anything right now as there are still 15 matches to go in the league phase. We will try not to repeat the mistakes in the next match and make a strong comeback," he said.
When asked about the opposition, Kings XI Punjab, and the composition of the team, a team that does not have big names in the line-up, but possess a good bunch of domestic players, Jadeja said, “I don’t think having or not having big names (in a team) matters much in the twenty20 format, because in this format whoever plays well on the day will do well. In the end, it is one or two overs that turn out to be crucial to the game and make all the difference. For example if one team scores big runs in an over or a team takes couple of wickets in an over, that changes the complexion of the game. So the nature of the game is such that on a given day whichever team has batted well or has had good day in the field with the ball wins the game.”
The left-arm spinner who enjoyed huge success with the ball in the recently concluded Test series against Australia is eager to take the field. Asked if he has to make changes to his bowling, if at all with the change if format when he takes the field, Jadeja explained, “There is not much that you change per say but since these are two very different formats, you discuss within the team and strategise about how and what to bowl.
There isn’t much time to think on field with just four overs to bowl. In this format you don’t think too much about taking wickets because if you go for wickets there are chances that you will concede runs. Therefore one has to plan for a batsman keeping in mind his areas of weakness and strengths and then execute it.”
When asked if he was glad to play once again at the PCA”, he said, “It always feels good to play here. The ground and the facilities are very good. The feel of the place, like when we recently played a Test match here against Australia which we won in four days felt good. This time we are playing a game of twenty20 cricket and it is a different team. Whatever format, you come to play here and one gets a good feeling at this venue. So it feels good that we have back so soon in a matter of about couple of weeks to play here again. So we will try to perform well and win here tomorrow.”
It will be their first game in their home ground and when the Mumbai Indians step out to face the Delhi Daredevils on Tuesday, be rest assured to see a wave of blue and not surprisingly the loudest cheer for the home team.
The team will obviously be pumped up after a brilliant victory against the Chennai Super Kings in their previous fixture amidst a sea of yellow, and Dinesh Karthik said the team was excited to play their first game in front of their home crowd. “Obviously as a team we are excited to play our first game in front of our home ground. Last year the stadium was packed and we are expecting a big crowd and looking to do well against the Delhi Daredevils. “
The big question was if Lasith Malinga would feature in his first game of the IPL tomorrow. “Malinga came for practice today and he is eager to play. We will take a call on him tomorrow, “ added Karthik.
The Mumbai Indians snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat as the match against the Chennai Super Kings went on till the last over. CSK captain MS Dhoni had almost got his team home by his own might, but it was a stunning catch by Pollard that brought back the game into MI’s hands. Obviously a win like that has to keep the team in high spirits.
“It was a game where both the teams played cricket of the highest quality and we were able to hold our nerves till the end. At one point of time everybody thought that MS Dhoni was going to take away the game away from us. But thanks to Pollard, we got him in the last over and the way Munaf bowled and finished the game for us, we are really happy the way the team has done.”
Not just Pollard, Karthik on a personal front too has had a rollicking start to this year’s IPL. He got a 37 ball 60 against RCB and a 25 ball 37 in the match against CSK, but failed to carry his bat till the end of the innings on both occasions, something that the wicketkeeper batsman wants to improve on.
“I am happy with the way I am batting. Having said that I feel, I should have finished the game in Bangalore but I did not do that, but Keiron Pollard did that wonderfully for us in Chennai. If you are batting well, it is important to finish games off.”
Whether Karthik works on his weaknesses and delivers more consistently is yet to be seen, but at the moment he is enjoying his stint with the Ricky Ponting led Mumbai Indians. “Ricky Ponting has always been one of my favorite players. I have admired his batting and was really looking forward to meeting him and being a part of his team. The way he has positive energy and the way he is doing things is wonderful. I am really looking forward to a few more games with him.”
When asked if the team were failing to get quick starts with Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar opening the innings, Karthik said, “In the two wickets we have played, it was seaming a bit in Bangalore and there was a bit of seam in Chennai as well. It was important for us to see off the initial overs and then start scoring freely. We did not lose any wickets in the first fifty runs and infact Ponting and Sachin actually got us to a good start. We are very happy with the way things are going.”