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Knights deserved the crown: Bailey

Bangalore/Calcutta: Kings XI Punjab captain George Bailey felt his team has been impressive despite the loss to the Kolkata Knight Riders in the final, here on Sunday.

“We’ve got a special bunch of guys, we’ve had a wonderful tournament, and our guys can hold their heads high,” said Bailey.

The loss, however, had left him disappointed. “Sometimes it’s better to lose by a bigger margin… The closer the margin the more disappointed one gets,” he said.

Bailey couldn’t stop praising Wriddhiman Saha’s 115 not out off 55 balls, the first century in an IPL final. “Wriddhi’s innings has summed it up nicely for us… He has been one of the guys who’s a little bit unheralded… For us he has been the rock who has done the job nicely at different times…

“He’s been a wonderful person on and off the field… To see him perform was just wonderful,” said the Kings XI Punjab captain.

Bailey also supported the move to promote himself up the batting order, but agreed that in hindsight David Miller would have been a better choice.

“In all the three prior meetings against the Knight Riders, we ended up in the 130s and 140s. We struggled against their spinners… So we tried to do things differently this time. But it’s been wonderful batting by the guys. Knights deserved the crown,” he said.

Despite the loss, he was satisfied with the 200-run target they set for the Knight Riders. “A total of 199… I would take it at any T20 contest. It was very good considering how Knight Riders bowled right through the tournament. It was the highest total against them. There are not many weak links in their bowling. The plan was to try and keep wickets in hand.”

Bailey was also all praise for young Akshar Patel. “He’s such an impressive package. His knowledge of the game is amazing. The calm poise he has as a 20-year-old is just amazing. He has been the go-to bowler for us in the IPL. A long and successful international career await him,” he said.

“It feels nice to get the Emerging Player award. I’m proud that I’ve beaten so many talented youngsters to the No. 1 position.” Patel said.

“Our bowling coach Joe (Dawes) makes a lot of plans for different batsmen, and I try to implement those plans. I try to stick to my length and line. Sometimes, things work in my favour and sometimes, things don’t. But I don’t lose heart.

“I think I’m a batting all-rounder… But after this performance in the IPL, I think I’m a bowling all-rounder now,” he added.

Manan Vohra, who struck 67, hitting two sixes and six boundaries, said: “Wriddhi and I were under immense pressure after (Virender) Sehwag and Bailey got out early. We decided that we will try to settle down at the wicket before going for our shots.”