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Bangalore: May 31, 2014
In what promises to be a high octane Indian Premier League (IPL) final here tomorrow, skippers of Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)— George Bailey and Gautam Gambhir respectively — are focusing on their strengths instead of thinking much about each other’s potential.
“Kings XI are a very dangerous side. We have to perform very well in all the three departments to match their ability. What we need to do is to execute what we have planned. We don’t discuss about opponents but focus on our strengths. We will keep this in mind going into the match tomorrow,” Gambhir said on the eve of the match at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Bailey also acknowledged Kolkata to be a consistent side in all departments, but his team is focusing on their strengths rather than on opposition’s potential. “Kolkata has been very consistent right throughout in all departments. I agree that worrying too much about the opposition does not help. We will focus on what we have to do in the ground,” said the Australian.
Replying to a question, Bailey said the team has made the final because of doing well in all three departments of the game. “I dont think we have made the finals on the back of one half of your team doing well. You need everyone to contribute,” he said.
Gambhir concurred with Bailey’s remarks, praising their final opponents. Asked about critics writing about Kolkata’s team composition during IPL auction, Gambhir said the team values the comments of his team-mates than the critics. “We don’t give importance to critics. Most important thing is what the bunch of players sitting in the dressing room say about me and what I feel about them,” he said.
On Virender Sehwag‘s sensational hundred against Chennai Super Kings, Bailey said the Delhi batsman had been scripting valuable 30-40 runs innings, which people did not appreciate. “I think people have been harsh on him. He has played some beautiful innings of 30s and 40s, but did not score big. The way Veeru bats, forces the opposition to change their plans,” he said. Also opener Manan Vohra has been fantastic by getting good partnerships with Sehwag, he added.
Asked about hectic travelling schedule, Baily said it is natural for any side to get a bit tired in such a long tournament, however, “the boys are itching to go out and perform in the summit clash.”
Asked about the pressure playing at a neutral venue, Bailey said both will be under pressure, but would like to get their basics right. “Both teams will face pressure. We are not going with brand new tactics. Just go out and do same things and do our basics,” he added.
Gambhir said, “I agree with George that we needn’t do anything different in the game of cricket. We can’t do much. Pressure will be there on both sides because it is final and we have to win.”
On Sehwag’s innings, the Southpaw said it was pleasing to see a big-match player scoring a century. “It was pleasing to see that he put his hands up and scored century…I always believed he is one of India’s greatest match-winner.”
Asked how he would react to playing against Sehwag, Gambhir said, “Friendship is off the field and not on the field. We have lot of respect for each other. When we go out tomorrow, I will be thinking of getting him out and vice versa.”
On Sunil Narine‘s decision to play for Kolkata instead of West Indies, Gambhir said the star spinner has taken a right decision as no player wishes to quit before the final. “He has taken a right decision to continue playing for KKR because the team has reached the finals and one game away. No player would like to skip that. If I was there in his position, I would have done the same,” he added.
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