As tremors shook North India on Sunday afternoon, Kings XI Punjab were performing a ‘havan’ (offerings into a consecrated fire) in front of their dressing room to bring some luck to their team.
Both Kings XI Punjab and the team they will face on Monday, newcomers Gujarat Lions, have established Twenty20 players who are seeking redemption in the league for their failures in the recent World Twenty20.
Gujarat Lions have many players seeking redemption for their poor showing in the World T20. Skipper Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja, Aussies James Faulkner and Aaron Finch as well as South African pacer Dale Steyn had all struggled in the tournament in India. For hosts Kings XI too, Aussie Glenn Maxwell and South Africa’s David Miller had a horrid time in the global tournament.
After their teams had bowed out of the World T20 at various stages, they will be hoping to regain their form in the IPL.
“It’s important that you go out and enjoy, that is a big part of IPL. Even when you are playing for the country, you need to enjoy your cricket and play positive. The coaches always insist that when as a kid you play in the backyard, you look to have fun and that is something we need to do,” said Raina, ahead of the match.
Raina’s highest score in the World T20 was 30 and he picked three wickets. The best innings of Maxwell, who was expected to be Australia’s impact player, was 31. He also took a couple of wickets as the One-day champions failed to reach the semifinals. Miller and Steyn also failed as South Africa endured another disappointing run, failing to reach the last four. Steyn was picked for just two of the four Super 10 games, and took just one wicket.
KXIP’s Miller is a greenhorn in terms of captaincy compared to Raina, who has led Uttar Pradesh besides captaining India in limited-overs series in Zimbabwe and West Indies. Miller said the number of chances in the IPL helps one bounce back.
“It’s not like the World Cup where if you have two bad games you are out. International cricket is definitely bigger than IPL, where you are carrying expectations of a nation. But this format allows you to play 14 games. You get another chance and it gives you a bit of time for something to happen,” Miller said.
Both the sides will be looking to settle down quickly. Lions, assembled a few months ago, will be looking to find cohesion while Kings XI will need early momentum. Last year, the hosts had just three wins and finished last.