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Knight Riders a big challenge: Marsh

Calcutta/ Mohali: Kings XI Punjab have had an excellent IPL VII so far. They ended their group league campaign on Sunday with a victory, over the Delhi DareDevils, finishing atop the points table.

But the rampaging Kings XI are cautious ahead of their crucial Qualifier 1 contest against the Kolkata Knight Riders, at the Eden, on Tuesday. As their Australian import Shaun Marsh put it after their seven-wicket victory on Sunday, facing the Knights will be a “big challenge”.

“We have finished at the top of the ladder… We have had a fantastic season, but I guess that counts for very little now. We have got some big games coming up and it’s going to be a really big challenge in Calcutta. They (the Knights) are in terrific form. We will bring our best and we are confident that we can beat any team in the competition,” Marsh said.

Kings XI will play Knights in Qualifier 1 because Gautam Gambhir’s team nosed ahead of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings to finish second on the points table.

Asked if the Super Kings would have been an easier opponent than the Knights, Kings XI coach Sanjay Bangar said: “We cannot pick our opponents… Well, obviously, the Knights will be having an advantage with the crowd support… But it will be interesting to go out and compete against a home team. I think it’s going to be a great challenge.”

Captain George Bailey was happy that they could finish the league stage with a win. “It feels really nice to come to the business end of the tournament and finish the league engagements with a win.

“We are really happy to go into the play-offs with a win. Obviously, it’s going to get a little tougher now. But I guess there is not much room for experiments now. Yes, we did rest a few players and rotate them around… That has kept the players fresh for the big matches,” Bailey said.