Bangalore: George Bailey thinks Kings XI Punjab have reaped the rewards for persisting with Virender Sehwag. The opener’s 122 off 58 balls on Friday took Kings XI into the IPL VII final.
“Backing him has paid off. I think everyone has been a bit harsh on him (Sehwag)… I think he has actually played some beautiful innings for us. He hasn’t scored the big runs that we would have liked to see from him… He scored a nice 70 against KKR in Cuttack. He has got some beautiful 30s and 40s…
“The way he forces the opposition to think about how they are going to bowl to him and forces them to change their plans... He is in beautiful touch… He has helped in grooming (Manan) Vohra.
“We have seen a young player develop, maturing along with Viru yesterday. That partnership was very important and together I think they have had some great partnerships. It is just fantastic to see him able to focus on himself and play the innings that he wanted to play... It was just vintage from the master,” remarked Bailey.
He felt Glenn Maxwell’s low scores in the last few matches wasn’t a concern.
“The pleasing thing for us is that if Maxi gets out, he doesn’t waste us many balls. When he is not getting big scores for us, he normally hits a six and gets out. I still think he is hitting the ball really beautifully, it’s just a matter of him getting through the first couple of balls and then he is away…
“It’s the same with any batsman in any side. There’s no difference there. The really pleasing thing for us is that we know what he is capable of.
“We have seen that a number of times throughout the tournament… He has been one of the main reasons for our making the final.
“And once again, not just the way he has played but the belief that he has instilled in the rest of the team… About what’s possible and what the standard is for us guys with the bat…”
Bailey felt Kolkata Knight Riders had shown amazing consistency and strength.
“From our point of view, the way KKR have played their last several matches is amazing… We appreciate it… I’d take my hats off to them, that’s something they have been very, very good at. They have been very, very consistent right throughout in all three departments.
“I think it is dangerous in T20 cricket to worry too much about the opposition.
“Both teams would be very confident with their own sides and their abilities… Both teams will be very much focussed on playing the game they want to play and hoping that’s good enough.”
Bailey didn’t wish to read much into the pressure element going into the final.
“It’s only about as much pressure as you put on yourself. Both teams will be looking to win, they will be hoping to win... But it’s not going to be more pressure than any other game.
“As much as it sounds cliched and boring, we are not going to go out with any brand new tactics. As a team, we will try to go out and do the same things. It is just about doing the basics right,” he explained.
Is bowling a concern for Kings XI? Bailey refused to agree.
“Our main area of concern last night was Suresh Raina. It would not matter who was bowling to him, he was going after everyone.
“It is hard to appreciate it when you watch it in the middle. The beautiful thing about both the innings was that he played proper cricketing shots. There was no stopping him.
“I’m really proud of our bowling, we have taken a lot of wickets… That is the best way to win matches.”