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On a flat deck, George Bailey played another cameo of 41 from 13 balls. R Vishal adds that Bailey’s form makes Kings XI Punjab a much more dangerous batting side.
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP)’s stunning run in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014, led by the inspirational Glenn Maxwell continues to gather momentum. Another convincing win against the mighty Chennai Super Kings (CSK) firmly cements Punjab’s hopes of a title finish. While Maxwell’s inventive stroke-play and an uncanny ability to clear the boundary with ease continues to dominate proceedings, captain George Bailey’s 40 of 13 balls almost went unnoticed.
After being named as the captain of the Punjab outfit with a new look squad, Bailey had to live up to lofty expectations — especially after an extremely strong and powerful side was being handed over to him. While the Australian base that Punjab have had since the inaugural IPL edition remained intact, the approach in snapping up the current squad showed a change in intent. The owners placed their faith in proven world-class talent in Bailey, Maxwell and Mitchell Johnson.
The previous editions have shown that having a power-packed team does not guarantee success unless the group has an able leader in their hands. Armed with international experience and leading Australia in the shorter formats, Bailey has taken over the reins of the skipper like a fish to water. While he was lucky to inherit a talented crop of Indian players, Bailey has marshaled his troops well and zeroed in on a winning combination straight away.
Quite the big-hitter himself, Bailey’s batting had suffered in IPL 7 and the few times he walked in to bat, he was unable to make a telling impact. With a breathtaking cameo against Chennai though, Bailey surely has turned a corner and looked far more at ease than he was so far. His cameo was not about just about hitting the ball out of the part but his precision in timing the ball through the vacant areas from the word go showed that this could just be the sign of better things to come.
While Maxwell and David Miller have helped Punjab post match winning scores, Bailey should be given credit for handling some unheralded names like Sandeep Sharma and Akshar Patel. Even Rishi Dhawan and India’s forgotten man, Lakshmipathy Balaji have been amongst the wickets and the Tasmanian should get credit for extracting the best of them at crucial junctures.
Having established themselves as the team to beat in the IPL so far, opponents will be studying Punjab closely. Their 44-run win over Chennai showed that many players can step up and do a job for Punjab if the situation demands. With Bailey being the weakest link so far in terms of contributions, the smiling assassin’s blistering knock ties the loose ends and of Punjab and can firmly rest in peace knowing that they are some distance ahead of the rest of the IPL pack. Especially with a smart and empowering leader like Bailey, who has studied his team well and has the know-how to bring the best out his team.
(R Vishal is a journalist and alumni of Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)
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