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Kings XI Punjab kick started the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013 with an exciting win in an away game against the Pune Warriors India. Drawing upon that confidence, the team, under coach Darren Lehmann and the guidance of skipper Adam Gilchrist, will look to carry forward the momentum with a another victory under their belt when the take the field against the Chennai Super Kings in their first home game of the season. One of the highlights of their triumph in Pune was the fielding display. Saving even a single and pulling off catches from thin air on the field make a significant difference in the outcome of the game especially in the shortest format. Discussing the aspect, the KXIP skipper said, “Fielding was excellent but the game was set up by Praveen (Kumar) in the first over with the ball and everything seemed to follow. Everyone identified fielding as an area where we can get a jump over the opponents, if you execute that well it helps and the guys were brilliant. Gurkeerat's (Singh Mann) catch to dismiss a dangerous player like Ross Taylor is vital.”
Speaking about fielding coach, Mike Young’s influence he added, “Mike was here last year as well. We can see the benefit of that. No coach can walk in and expect instant success. It takes time particularly when you bring in new ideas. And he does bring in different aspects to our fielding. We also have some exciting young players who are eager to learn, so that fits well in the way in which Mike, Darren Lehmann and Joe Dawes go about their coaching. Fielding has been a highlight for us and we want to focus on that.”
“The way the bowlers summed up the conditions in Pune was fantastic. Obviously through the IPL we will have different conditions and different plans. The better bowlers and bowling units assess that as quickly as possible and they will be backed very well in the field. (And they will be successful). If they continue to bowl by the same standards we can say that’s their strength. It was the first time and we have to back that up now,” Gilchrist stated.
Asked about genuine quick bowlers in the game the veteran cricketer said, “Ryan Harris is right up there with some of the quickest. (Shaun) Tait and (Dale) Steyn are right up there in terms of pace, but Ryan is not too far behind some of the other bowlers in the competition. But we have a good variety in the type of bowlers we have.”
Giving an insight into the youngsters in the team he said, “Mandeep (Singh) played terrific knocks for us last year. He was a vital cog in the line-up. He has earned his place at the top of the order.”
“Manan Vohra has impressed us since coming in. He has been around this group for couple of years and trained with us couple of years ago. He wasn't able to get into the IPL then, but he has been patient. He has also been patient with the frustration of the Under-19 World Cup. So he has a lot that he wants to do. He has shown a great appetite to learn. It was nice to give him the opportunity and even better to see him take it with both hands. Hopefully he can continue the same.”
“Gurkeerat was great for us in a couple of games last year and hopefully he will get his opportunity this year as well.” Speaking about his own form and his role at the top of the order he said, “I'm feeling good. I hit a few balls over there. On that wicket we wanted to capitalise on the new ball. It was a low wicket and the ball was hard and the field was up and it was our plan to go out there and maximise that (in the initial overs). That brings with it a lot of risk and that is the role I have this year as well to go out there and get that start. If at times it means I get out early going for those shots, so be it. You've got to mix the good with the bad, but yeah in my short stay, I felt really good.”
While talking about the team he said, “It’s such a long season ahead in terms of the number of games. Teams can be fine now but stumble through the middle and vice-versa. Darren brings a lot of experience and focus to the group that is perhaps something maybe I as coach in a dual role didn't provide individually. And Darren has already brought that into the picture, set targets and set goals. But it is still early (in the tournament to say anything). We had a good first game and ticked all the boxes but now the challenge is to maintain that and it is exciting.”
Asked about the wicket, Gilchrist replied, “I haven't looked at the wicket yet, but I think in my couple of years of playing here, I can say it will be a true wicket. It’s always been one of the bouncier wickets in India but generally it is a nice batting wicket.”
The Pepsi IPL 2013 Caravan will make its first appearance in Mohali when Kings XI Punjab host the formidable Chennai Super Kings.
A clinical performance saw the Kings XI Punjab register a convincing eight-wicket victory in their season opener against Pune Warriors India. They will be keen to build on that early confidence, especially playing in their own backyard.
The Chennai Super Kings meanwhile suffered a setback at the hands of Mumbai Indians in their tournament opener. The two-time champions, who are known to be slow starters, will be keen to get their first points on the board in this fixture.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 8 p.m
Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali
MS Dhoni revived what looked like a lost cause in the match against the Mumbai Indians. The skipper looked in good-hitting form and that bodes well for the two-time champions. Among the game’s best finishers, Dhoni has resisted suggestions asking for him to bat up the order. Albie Morkel’s arrival has further bolstered the CSK squad – though his participation is in doubt after he suffered an ankle injury in his last T20 match back home. In Suresh Raina and R Ashwin, CSK have two established performers in T20 cricket, and a lot will ride on their performances too.
The 19-year old Manan Vohra impressed with his temperament and choice of shots in his team’s win over Pune Warriors India. The teenager will be keen to build on the reputation he established in that match. Adam Gilchrist, who said he’d trained a lot harder in the run-up to IPL VI, looked to be hitting the ball well and even muscled a couple of shots in his team’s season opener. He and David Hussey are the two other important names in the KXIP batting line-up.
The Chennai Super Kings have an edge over the Kings XI Punjab in contests between the two teams. Off the ten meetings between the two teams, CSK have won six while KXIP won three. The other contest ended in a tie after 40 overs and KXIP edged past CSK in the Super Over.
Last season, KXIP defeated CSK in both the league fixtures; they clinched a thriller by seven runs at Chennai and then convincingly defeated CSK by six wickets at Dharamsala.
David Hussey is the second-most capped player in T20 cricket. The 35-year old has so far appeared in 199 T20 matches and has scored 4829 runs (which is the third highest aggregate in T20 cricket).
Kings XI Punjab will head across to Jaipur for their clash against the Rajasthan Royals on April 14. The Chennai Super Kings will head back home to host their neighbours Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 13.