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Coach wants team to ‘make hay while the sun shines’
By Shirin Sadikot
Mohali 08 May 2013
After straight losses against the three most star-studded sides in the tournament – KKR, MI and CSK –Kings XI Punjab came back to create one of the biggest upsets of the IPL when they chased down RCB’s 190 from a near improbable situation.
Now KXIP return home for two games, the first of which is against the in-formRajasthan Royals on Thursday. Ahead of the game, coach, Darren Lehmann, said the David Miller (101 off 38 balls) - inspired win over RCB has put the team high on the confidence pedestal.
“The last one was an outstanding win against a quality side and we’re high on confidence after that,” Lehmann said before quickly acknowledging RR’s fine form with their home wins.
“Now again we’re up against a side that has been in very good form. But it’s nice to be at home considering all teams’ home domination. We now have only one away game and the rest of them are at home. So, it’s time to make hay while the sun shines,” Lehmann said.
Considering Miller’s red-hot form and KXIP’s top-order inconsistency, it might not be a bad idea for them to promote the young South African at No.3. Lehmann said the team will look to bank on his versatility by using him to suit the situations.
“He can bat anywhere. It is just the way things have shaped up at the moment that he’s batting at five. He batted at four when we chased down 185 against Pune Warriors. It depends on the bowling attack and the match situation. But he can bat anywhere and still score runs.”
Miller has been a revelation this season and still only 23 years of age, he has ample time on his hands to carve out a successful international career for himself. Lehmann said the KXIP team takes pride in their policy of nurturing young talent.
“We like to promote youth and give them the chance. I think we have done that very well this year. Hopefully that stands us in good stead moving forward. You come here and become better experienced players as the year passes,” he said.
While the youngsters bring in flair and dynamism into the side, Lehmann feels they need to learn the art of clinching the big moments in a match, if the team are to dream of making the final cut. The win over RCB pleased the coach in that regard.
“We’ve probably played well 80 per cent of the times in most games but have missed out because we have failed to seize the big moments,” Lehmann said referring to KXIP’s six losses in the tournament so far.
“We’ve missed a catch here and there, or not taken our chances with the bat or ball. We haven’t been able to trust our plans right in those games, in crunch situations. However, I thought we did that really well the other night – against RCB. In the remaining games starting Thursday, we really need to make sure we get that 20 per cent right too,” the coach said.
To their next opposition, the former Australian batsman had some high praises to offer as he stressed the importance of putting the first foot right in the shortest format. “I think they’re a pretty good team unit. They’ve had a similar side for a while now and Rahul (Dravid) has done a pretty good job with the young team. In T20 what matters most is how to start the game and get on the top. So, whether we bat or bowl first tomorrow, we’ll have to begin well,” he said.
Lauds Hussey’s approach, hopes he continues contributing
By Anand Subramaniam
Hyderabad 07 May 2013
In Chennai Super Kings’ previous game against the Mumbai Indians, all was going according to their plan. Their bowlers came good, restricting a star studded Mumbai Indians batting line up to 139 and one would have expected CSK to come out trumps with ease.
However, there was a twist in the tale. What transpired was a batting collapse that caught everyone by surprise as CSK were bowled out for 79, their lowest IPL score and a 60-run defeat that ended their seven-match wining streak.
After a series of victories, bowling Coach Andy Bichel felt, in a way the loss was needed. “When you have seven wins in a row, everything is going well for you and you tend to look at the positives of the game. I think it was probably a loss that we needed. It has really put us back in a position of working hard and finding how we won those matches. There are fantastic players in our team who play with a lot of pride. The loss against Mumbai Indians hurt them pretty bad. It will be a challenge for us to bounce back on Wednesday.”
CSK face an upbeat Sunrisers Hyderabad, who have won all their home matches so far, but Bichel said his team would want to take confidence from the fact that they have done well away from home.
“We have done pretty well so far, winning matches away from home. Hopefully we can continue that trend here in Hyderabad.” One cannot expect scores of 180 being scored in Hyderabad, especially with the kind of wickets at disposal. The venue has been known to stage low scoring games and Bichel felt keeping wickets in hand will be the key.
“I think the wicket here is low and slow and the highest that a side has put up at this venue is just 130. On such a wicket it is a challenge to play and I feel rotating the strike initially with wickets in hand and then launching towards the end of the innings will be an advantage.”
One key member in that CSK line-up has been Michael Hussey. Over five hundred runs with an average of 56 and a century to his name, Hussey has been ‘Mr. Consistent’ for CSK. Bichel hoped Hussey continued the good work.
“Hussey has been brilliant for us especially after retiring from Test cricket. He has a strong focus on T20 cricket now going forward for him. We at CSK have been very lucky to get the response straight away. He has been with CSK for long and hopefully continues what he has done for us this year and in the years to come.”