Batting firepower gives Kings XI the edge
Despite losing both their previous IPL matches to Chennai Super Kings, King's XI Punjab were going into Saturday's semi-finals against the same opposition with a measure of confidence, team captain Yuvraj Singh and coach Tom Moody said.
"It's a different ground (Wankhede Stadium) and circumstances are different. We are coming into the game with greater confidence and will be looking to do our best with ball, bat and on the field," the lanky Australia-born Moody said.
Captain Yuvraj said the team had learnt valuable lessons from their losses to Chennai at home and in the latter's backyard (Chidambaram Stadium) and were keen not to commit the same mistakes. "We will try not to make the same errors again and will see where the opposition falters and try and take advantage," the stylish left-handed batsman said.
"Our confidence is high with the way we are playing and if we execute our plans properly tomorrow, no doubt we can win," the King's XI skipper said.
About his own form with the bat, Yuvraj said the good run he had in their last game would stand him in good stead. "I had some good form in the last game. It has come at the right time ahead of the semi-finals," he said referring to his knock of 49 in 16 balls.
Yuvraj Singh backed his bowling attack by saying it had performed well barring the odd game. "Our bowlers have bowled well. It's just that the wickets were flat. The attack might have faltered on one or two games, but our bowlers are doing a great job," Yuvraj said.
Yuvraj praised the batting of Shaun Marsh, who has accumulated nearly 600 runs in only ten games. "It's been great to watch him and he's an important member of the team. We hope he does well tomorrow also," he said about the Western Australian left-handed opener's superb show thus far.
Yuvraj also played down his earlier comments criticising the Mumbai crowd and said he was confident they would support his team in the semis. "My comments have been blown out of proportion. I had only said (after the thrilling one-run win over Mumbai Indians team at this venue) that they should not criticize Indian players. The public here is good and I'm sure at least half of them will support us in our game".
Yuvraj sounded upbeat that many more youngsters would be working hard through domestic and international cricket to make it to the IPL. "Lot of youngsters who could have come in had to go for international duty and I'm sure many would work harder to come in to the IPL next year," he explained.
Talking about the aspect of coaching in a T20 tournament, Moody said that it was not easy to improve the players' skills. "It's just about trying to get the players as close as possible to each other and getting them to play together. Most of the players have not even seen each other before and at times have seen them only on television. There's not enough time to up skills but you can only help with improving technique and innovation," the King's XI coach said.
Moody said it was not proper to judge a coach's worth after only one year of IPL. "It's not about the coach but about the players. It's just about creating the right environment about the players. You can't judge a coach in the first year of the IPL," he said, adding it would be ideal to do so after a couple of years.