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May 31, 2014
If there was anything common between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) qualifying for Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2013 and 2014 respectively, it has to be a left-arm pacer Mitchell Johnson. The Aussie quick will be playing his second consecutive IPL final as KXIP face an in-form Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at Bangalore on Sunday.
“It’s amazing. It seems I have got my timing joining the IPL right! This is the same as last year, for a different team. Hopefully, my team can once again get over the line this time. Everyone was pretty disappointed after the first Qualifier against KKR. But throughout the tournament every time we have lost a game, we’ve bounced back really well. And we did it again today. A lot of young guys in the team have done exceptionally well. One of the old boys did the same today as well – Virender Sehwag coming and scoring an unbelievable hundred,” Johnson was quoted as saying to the official website of IPL.
“Yes, all the boys are pretty chuffed right now and they should be. But we still have one more game left to win. The Bangalore ground is a small one, but the wicket can sometimes be good for fast bowlers. We’ll just give our best, and whatever the result, we’ll walk off proud as a team”
On Virender Sehwag’s sensational innings Johnson said, “Yes, actually a couple of times before, we thought he was about to take off. And he finally did today. He waited till the Final to show his best and that’s very good for us. He even ran a couple of quick twos and singles. That’s pretty good to see. Hopefully, he can recover in time for the Final and we can see him at his best again.”
KXIP’s unsung hero this season has been their coach Sanjay Bangar. The former India all-rounder was involved in most of the key decision making process in the Punjab franchise including the auctions. Johnson showered praise on the coach and said, “I spoke to Sanjay (Bangar) before the tournament and he was pumped up to take on this new role. He spoke to Darren Lehmann before the IPL as well. He’s been amazing – calm and very switched on all the time. He knows the game so well and he’s really good with all the tactical stuff like sending different guys out to bat at different times. He has been on the point with everything – he’s upfront and honest.
“He’s probably blown me away a bit as I wasn’t completely sure of what to expect when I came to KXIP. But I developed a liking for him straightaway. He is a very good person off the field as well, which is always good in a coach. Hopefully, I was able to give him some useful insight from my understanding of the game as well.”
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