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With five wins in six matches, Kings XI Punjab now play their first home match in India, against Chennai Super Kings. However, Cuttack’s Barabati Stadium is as much home to the team from Mohali as it is for CSK. And KXIP Skipper George Bailey admitted as much on the eve of the game.
“It will be a challenge because we are not used to this venue,” Bailey said before finding a positive in the situation. “We’ve had a training session today and CSK haven’t since they only played last night. So, that way, we will have maybe a slight advantage. But other than that, there will be no home advantage for us here.
When asked whether the team will consider brining in Murali Kartik in the playing XI, Bailey kept his cards close to his chest and did not reveal much. “That’s an option, for sure. Regardless of whether we are playing well or not, choosing the right players on the basis of the venue conditions and the opposition is a process that we go through.”
Speaking of the new venue, what the KXIP skipper liked the most about the Barabati Stadium was its long boundaries. “I like the size of the ground – it’s a bigger ground and that brings the skills and tactics into the picture much more. So, that’s pleasing to see.”
The Australian T20 captain also said that he relishes his time leading an IPL team for various reasons.
“It has been very different for me leading a team with players from varied cultures. You get to immerse yourself in their cultures and learn so much about how different players prepare for their game and how they think about their game.
“For me, the best thing about captaining a team in the IPL as opposed to leading Australia in a T20 tournament is that here you actually get the time to build a team. The length of the tournament means that you spend a lot of time together and really get to know each other quite well. In an international T20 tournament, you just get together for three-four matches, and that’s it.
“It’s a privilege to be in this position where you can learn so much and hopefully help the younger guys,” he said.
Match 29 of Pepsi IPL 2014 features a top of the table clash. The Chennai Super Kings will take on Kings XI Punjab, a team they displaced from the top of the table.
KXIP cleaned up the UAE leg of the competition with five wins in five outings. But in their very first outing in India, the juggernaut was brought to a halt when the Mumbai Indians got the better of them at Wankhede Stadium. However, heading into this contest, KXIP will believe they have the edge over CSK, having defeated them earlier in the season.
CSK, on the other hand, are operating like a well-oiled engine. Since losing their opening match against KXIP, the two-time champions have steamrolled their next six opponents. In their most recent outing, they clinically chased down 179 against the Delhi Daredevils at the Ferozeshah Kotla to win by eight wickets.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 8 pm IST
Barabati Stadium, Cuttack
Kings XI Punjab have more than one batsman who can do the job for them. If Glenn Maxwell and David Miller were instrumental in giving the team the momentum in the early matches, Virender Sehwag played useful knocks in the latter matches of the UAE leg. KXIP will need one of the three above-named players to play a big knock, and hope the rest of the batsmen can contribute around them.
CSK have been very well served by their new opening pairing of Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum. They are not only the team’s top two run-getters, they are also the most successful opening pair in Pepsi IPL 2014. It goes without saying that they are the most important players in CSK’s scheme of things.
Notes from previous match:
Kings XI Punjab v Mumbai Indians: The inexperience in the KXIP spin department was exposed for the first time this season. Akshar Patel had generally bowled well until the match against MI. But in that particular match, he came in for plenty of stick – conceding 40 runs in his four overs. That along with the number of dot balls played in the first six overs – 22 – call for attention of the KXIP coach.
Chennai Super Kings v Delhi Daredevils: Thought CSK registered a convincing win, skipper MS Dhoni expressed concerns over the performance of his bowlers in the death overs. DD scored 44 runs in the final three overs – and a bulk of that was because of poor execution of plans. The CSK bowlers bowled plenty of fuller length deliveries and gave the batsmen plenty of width too.
The Chennai Super Kings have an 8-5 win-loss record in IPL matches against Kings XI Punjab.
The seesaw has swung to and fro between the two teams in the last couple of seasons. Kings XI Punjab won both their matches against CSK in the 2012 season, while CSK prevailed on both occasions in the 2013 season. KXIP will believe the pendulum has swung back towards them after they got the better of CSK in a big run-chase in their season opener.
KXIP-CSK clashes have produced some stellar performances in the past. Michael Hussey’s century set the ball rolling for CSK in the inaugural season in 2008. Thereafter, Paul Valthaty scored a century for KXIP in 2011, while Suresh Raina scored his maiden IPL hundred against KXIP in 2013. Most recently, Glenn Maxwell stormed CSK, scoring 95 off 43 balls in Match 3 of Pepsi IPL 2014.
The Barabati Stadium in Cuttack had previously hosted IPL matches in 2010 and 2012. It was then the adopted home venue of the erstwhile Hyderabad franchise, Deccan Chargers.
Kings XI Punjab will head south to Bengaluru to take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore on May 9, while the Chennai Super Kings travel to Mumbai to take on defending champions Mumbai Indians on May 10.