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Lasith Malinga hailed as ‘outstanding’ by George Bailey

Lasith Malinga conceded only eight runs in his last two overs for Mumbai Indians against Kings XI Punjab © PTI
Lasith Malinga conceded only eight runs in his last two overs for Mumbai Indians against Kings XI Punjab © PTI

Mumbai: May 3, 2014

Kings XI Punjab captain George Bailey on Saturday praised Mumbai Indians‘ pace spearhead Lasith Malinga and said the two overs from the Sri Lankan towards the end played a crucial part in stopping their winning wheel. Mumbai beat Punjab by five wickets to end their own five-match losing run. Punjab finally lost after beginning the IPL 7 with five wins.

“Aside from losing, I don’t think things necessarily went wrong. I thought we got ourselves in a reasonable position to get an okay score. Lasith bowled two outstanding overs, that is why he is the best in the world.

“If he had bowled a bad over, the score could have been 180 and that maybe makes it a different game. But he bowled two outstanding overs and they had some good hitting later,” Bailey told reporters at the post match press conference.

The Australian felt that it was a close game of cricket and the home side played better.

“I don’t think we were complacent tonight. So I don’t think that. I think we just lost. We created a lot of chances early. They bowled well again early, once again. It was just a good game of cricket. Honestly walked off not too disappointed because I still felt that we did lot of things right and it is one of those games that could have gone either way. It was a close game of cricket. They just played better.”

Openers Cheteshwar Pujara and Virender Sehwag have failed to provide a good platform in most of the matches and asked if the team would tinker with the top slot, Bailey said, “We might do. They are doing pretty good. What they haven’t done is gone and got a big score. Pujara finished 40 not out in a good chase in one of the games. Sehwag has had couple of beautiful starts. He was a bit unlucky in that RCB game with a stiff decision. He is batting beautifully there.

There is no doubt that if you are batting in top four you want those guys to get 50-plus big scores that wins you games but they are doing okay. They have had reasonable partnerships. I don’t see big runs being too far away from Viru,” he said.

The 31-year-old said he was pleased with the way the youngsters have performed in the tournament so far.

“It has been enjoyable, we have played some good cricket which makes it fun but the most pleasing thing for me is to see some of the younger guys do well. Some guys who perhaps hadn’t the opportunities that they would have liked in the past. To see someone like Wriddhiman Saha do really well today at the top, in a position we challenged him to do well. That was really pleasing. Akshar Patel has been outstanding. To see Rishi Dhawan get better and better at this level is great,” he said.

Asked if the over from Akshar that went for 20 runs took away the momentum, Bailey said, “It was a good over from Corey Anderson. He hit the ball nicely. But after that I thought we dragged it back with a couple of good overs. That over they managed to get right on top but then I thought we managed to get it back with some good overs from Rishi and Balaji. Ten-an-over with wickets in hand and with the hitting power that they had, you were a little bit wary. You need to find ways to keep taking wickets.”

Mumbai Indians have managed to make the home ground a fortress and asked if the home advantage will have a big role to play, Bailey said, “I am not sure. I guess some teams will certainly play well. There are couple of teams who don’t have a home ground or it’s a different home ground from the years gone by. There is no doubt playing a certain amount of games at a ground gives you good knowledge of the conditions.”

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