A brilliant all-round display by the Kings XI Punjab enabled them to beat the Royal Challengers Bangalore by 32 runs, in Bangalore, on Friday and the KXIP captain George Bailey heaped praise on his in-form batsmen as well as his young bowling attack.
Bailey reserved his special praise for young quick Sandeep Sharma. “Our bowling has been great as well. Sandeep has been outstanding for us this season. For a guy who is as young as he is, he is courageous enough to come to me and ask for the field placement he wants,” said Bailey at the post-match presentation.
George Bailey: It was a strong performance with the bat, and it is by the usual suspects. We had got off to an outstanding start, and perhaps it was our best Powerplay this season batting wise. Sehwag and Mandeep got off us to a great start. Our middle-order batted well and there were some awesome hitting by the tailenders to help us reach a nice total at the end.
Our bowling has been great as well. Sandeep has been brilliant for us this season. For a guy who is as young as he is, he is courageous enough to come to me and ask for the field placement he wants.
Shivam was playing in his first match in his first game, so there was a bit of pressure on him. But he came out and bowled really well, and so did Akshar.
Hats off to our coach Sanjay Bangar. I was a bit tentative about playing as much spin bowling here because it is a small ground. Sanjay thought the wicket was a bit slower and the move paid off beautifully. It is good we are playing our best cricket at the back end of the tournament. We are not thinking about the qualifiers as yet. We are focused on the remaining league matches.
Virat Kohli: We did not play as a unit and that is something that has happened to us in the past few games. We are paying the price for it. We could have bowled better. Also, one or two unfortunate decisions hurt our prospects during the chase.
If you lose early wickets, it gets difficult. We have chased close to 200 runs quite a few times at this ground before. But it does not happen every time.
We are now in a situation where we have to treat every match like a knockout match. Perhaps that would be good for us. There won’t be any room for complacency and that just might be a blessing in disguise for us.
We need to pull our socks up. We need to take more responsibility as a batting unit. Moreover, we need a bit of luck as well because things have not gone our way in the past few games.
Sandeep Sharma (MoM): I am very happy with our performance in the tournament so far. I am enjoying my bowling very much. It was a special feeling getting those two quick wickets. I will cherish the wickets of Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli… They are very important for me.
We had a plan for Gayle in our team meeting. The seniors told me that he is not that good in hitting balls that go away from him. We stuck to the plan and it worked. I am thankful to my captain Bailey for having faith in me and giving me the new ball.