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Both Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad are coming off losses in their previous games. While it was not the best of homecomings for the Sunrisers, who were handed a seven-wicket defeat at the hands of the Mumbai Indians on Monday, their opponents for the next match too suffered a loss at home against the Kolkata Knight Riders. But despite SRH’s recent loss, KXIP captain George Bailey, is not going to take them lightly. “I think the Sunrisers have a very strong side. I do not think they have an obvious weakness. They have a strong batting line-up and have one of the best bowling line-ups in the tournament. It is going to be a tough contest against them,” Bailey said.
When asked if his side’s loss in the previous game was a wakeup call, Bailey said, “I guess anytime you lose, it is a good refresher that any team can beat any team. It is a good reminder that no matter how well you are playing or how well you think you are playing, on any given day, you need to turn up and play your best.”
Their last loss has also given rise to a few concerns. “In the last game, we lost too many wickets in the middle and when we tried to launch at the end, we were five or six down when we would rather be two or three down. That made it harder to attack their best bowlers. To be honest, I do not think we bowled too badly; their batsmen played very well. I don’t think we have to do anything too much different, but we are always working and trying to get better.”
One man who is certainly getting better with each game is Virender Sehwag. The opener smashed his way to a 50-ball 72 in the previous match and looked in great touch. Sehwag’s return to form is, obviously, a good sign for KXIP and a worry for their opponents. “Sehwag has been in really good touch for most of the tournament; he has got a lot of starts and I know he has wanted to go and get that big score. He was outstanding the other day and it is great for us and great for the team to see the confidence that he gives us when he is batting that way. And I know it must be terrifying for the bowlers of the opposition when he is in good touch,” Bailey said.
It would be the second consecutive day-game for KXIP when they face SRH at home. Playing two back-to-back day-games will tough, according to the Bailey. “It is challenging. You have to try and be smart, have a short warm-up, try and get as much sleep as you can the night before. But it is certainly challenging playing afternoon games. I don’t know if every team feels that way, but we are playing a couple of them at the moment, and it is hard work.”
Bailey also addressed the fact that KXIP’s two Ms – Glenn Maxwell and David Miller – did not have the best of times in their previous games. “We feel the more deliveries we make Glenn Maxwell and David Miller play, the more time they can take to build their innings, which is the best chance for us to get a big score. Some teams like to keep their big hitters for the finish and that works as well at times. You need to be flexible, and if you are chasing a big score, you just need to have your big hitters out there. But there are times when you might want to hold them back. It is certainly working for us when we try to give Maxwell and Miller as much time as we can in the middle.”
352 Boundaries (fours and sixes) conceded by Irfan Pathan – most by any bowler in the IPL. His tally includes 278 fours and 74 sixes. 29 Number of dot-balls faced by Aaron Finch during his innings – second most for any batsman in IPL history. Dwayne Bravo had played 30 dot-balls for Mumbai Indians against Kings XI Punjab at Centurion in 2009 (Mumbai Indians’ Dwayne Smith had also faced 29 dot-balls against Kolkata Knight Riders at Wankhede in 2013).
24 Number of innings after which Mumbai Indians batsmen forged a century partnership.
14 Number of fifty-plus scores made by Rohit Sharma in the IPL – most by a Mumbai Indians batsman, along with Sachin Tendulkar