Having won 12 matches out of the possible 14, Kings XI Punjab will visit the Eden Gardens on Tuesday to take on Kolkata Knight Riders in the first play-off of IPL 7. On the eve of the match, Punjab coach Sanjay Bangar looks back on a successful season thus far. Excerpts
On the challenge
We are looking forward to it. Eden Gardens has an history of producing great cricket because of the crowd and the atmosphere that is created. Its good to have that sort of competition and challenge for both the teams. We will revel in the conditions.
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On Punjab’s season
The key is to challenge your limitations and that has been the emphasis of our team. We’ve not gone beyond that. Maybe that has helped us play some consistent cricket over a long period of time.
On KXIP’s chances
Past records don’t really indicate anything. The teams that have got to the play-offs have played really good cricket and whichever team plays well on that day will hold an edge. Each team comes out with their own strategies, we’ll also try to negate the positives like any other team does to counter the opposition.
They were not in a great position to make the No 2 spot but they played some outstanding cricket to get there. Even a team like Mumbai (Indians) has surprised everyone by qualifying for the semifinals from nowhere. I think these two teams will have great confidence coming into the play-offs but CSK and we have played consistent cricket over a larger period of time.
On impact players
We wanted to have some impact players in the batting department which we did. In the bowling department, we felt we were a few bowlers short but the young Indian bowlers have come out delivered in style. The idea was to put up a well-balanced squad and so far things have worked out. I think all the teams really have been well thought out because of the entire reshuffle of the players. It’s just not Kings XI Punjab (who have made sensible buys). All the teams have balanced outfits.
On his experience
All other teams also have Indian coaches in their support staff, from my advantage, I’ve been playing until 15 months ago so I know most of the boys and how they respond to match situation. Maybe it helped a bit in a sense. It is for the other teams in the foray to decide. I always felt that sense of responsibility. I’ve tried to give my best and try to really step up and take up the responsibility with the Punjab side.