With five victories in eleven matches,Kings XI Punjab might be placed at the sixth position in the IPL season six rankings,but after David Miller’s stunning 38-ball 101 against the formidable Royal Bangalore Challengers,the confidence level of the Punjab team is soaring high.
Speaking ahead of Kings match against Rajasthan Royals,coach Darren Lehmann felt the team has been doing 80 per cent of things right but luck has often eluded them at crucial junctures. We have probably played well,80 per cent of the time in most games.., 43-year-old Australian said. KXIP,which had its practice session at Sector 16 cricket stadium in Chandigarh on Wednesday,will meet Rahul Dravid led Rajasthan Royals in a crucial encounter in Mohali on Thursday.
Lehmann said they now need to win the remaining five games and make sure they get the remaining 20 per cent of things going right. Aware of his team’s strength as they have won more home games,Lehmann said,We won an away game and rest are at home,we need to make hay while the sun shines.
Lehmann,who has previously turned out for the Rajasthan Royals and erstwhile Deccan Chargers,saw inconsistency in the batting department which the Punjab team needs to sort out.
We have got the batters to win the tournament,there is no doubt about that. We’ve just got to make them make bigger runs. If you look at someone like David Hussey,who has been getting lot of 20s and 30s and he is an experienced T20 player,so we would expect him to get couple of big scores.
Adding more,he said,If he comes good at the right time and (with) Adam (Gilchrist) at top of the order or (Luke) Pomsersbach or young Mandeep (Singh),if they can start to click,those probably top four then all of a sudden you got some power and punch in the batting order,that’s probably what we have lacked.
Batting working well
He,however,also added that the team has started to pick up well. We have started to bat well. In the last four games,we scored over 150 each game. If we can click even better at top of the order,then it can make someone like Miller’s job much easier.
Lehmann praised his bowlers,saying they were doing a good job.
“The local Indian boys are doing a really good job. I think PK (Praveen Kumar) has been fantastic for us opening the bowling,swinging the ball around and obviously finishing the innings. I think PC (Piyush Chawla) has really improved as the tournament has gone on,and in the last couple of games,he has done a good job. (Parvinder) Awana has been outstanding for us in the whole tournament and (Manpreet) Gony has got some vital wickets for us.”
Asked about Miller’s performance and how crucial it is for the sides batting,he said,”Miller has been fantastic.”
Questioned if he will be send higher up the order,he said,”I think he can bat anywhere,he batted at four against Pune..he can bat anywhere.”
On regular skipper Adam Gilchrist’s form,he said,”He hasn’t played the last couple of games. He is a very fine captain and (wicket) ‘keeper and if he can get some form and runs,he is valuable player.” The out-of-form Punjab captain has dropped himself and has been replaced by David Hussey,but Lehmann indicated that Gilchrist could be back soon at the helm.
Asked how his team rates the opposition Royals,he said,”They have played really well. We just have to do well in what we are doing. As I said before,we just have to make sure we get that 20 per cent going tomorrow against the side that is in top form. We have to beat those sides to qualify. There is a lot of planning that goes in behind the scenes and really keeping their major players quiet is going to be a big thing for us. I think they are pretty good team unit,to be fair. They have had the same side for a while now and Rahul Dravid has done a really good job with the side.”
He also indicated possibility of a few changes in his side for tomorrow’s game.