After five defeats in six matches, the future looks bleak for Kings XI Punjab but its stand-in skipper Mahela Jayawardene has not given up and believes the team can still bounce back in the Indian Premier League with a few wins in the subsequent outings.
“We need a few wins to get the momentum going. I still believe that the points table is still quite wide open. If you can win half of your games you can move up and keep fighting,” the Sri Lankan told reporters ahead of the team’s match against Mumbai Indians here on Tuesday.
Jayawardene will lead the side on Tuesday after regular skipper Kumar Sangakkara was banned for one match following the team’s third slow over-rate offence in the competition.
“We need to get the combination going and get those few wins under the belt and we will be heading in the right direction in the points table,” said Jayawardene.
The Sri Lankan blamed the batsmen for the team’s poor run in the tournament, lamenting their inability to bat throughout the overs.
“We had good starts up the order but none stood that long to make it count. If you look at other teams, players had taken responsibility to bat throughout. We haven’t done that.
Guys are hitting well in the middle but they have not taken the responsibility to bat through and take us to a good position,” he said.
Jayawardene said though the team’s bowling was upto the mark, the team was losing the plot due to a few bad overs in the middle.
“we have bowled well with good variations. But a couple of overs here and there have cost us the game. (There is) nothing drastically wrong, need to get the small things right.
(We are) pretty confident that if we can get a couple of good wins we will be doing the right things more often,” Jayawardene said.
The veteran Sri Lankan batsman said Kings XI Punjab had tried a few changes but it has not been successful thus far.
“We have tried a few things like batting Yuvraj up the order so that he could spend more time in the middle. Sanga (Sangakkara) and I had different responsibilities in the team, to try and control the period in the middle but unfortunately we haven’t been successful,” he said.
“We need to go out and enjoy ourselves in the middle. We need to make a few changes, settle down. We are a couple of good knocks away from playing well,” he said.
On the game against Mumbai Indians, Jayawardene said, “It’s a great game for us. We have nothing to lose. Mumbai Indians are playing some good cricket. We need to just go out there and express ourselves. From where we are now there is no way backwards and the only way is up.”
Jayawardene also cautioned his team against thinking too much ahead.
“I think we shouldn’t get ahead of us too much. We should get these little things right. Rather than thinking what’s going to happen 6-7 games down the line we should think what’s going to happen in the next game and concentrate at one game at a time,” he said.
Kings XI Punjab coach Tom Moody said the team needed to get into a positive momentum as soon as possible.
“It is important to get a positive momentum and belief that that we can turn the corner here tomorrow. I see no reason why we can’t do it,” said the Australian.
Asked whether opener Shaun Marsh, likely to play his first match in this year’s IPL on Tuesday, would be under some sort of pressure, Moody said, “Shaun is a top order player. Anyone batting higher has the responsibility to bat through. Shaun will be under no different pressure. At the end of the day we are in this position just because our top-order hasn’t fired.”
On Yuvraj skipping nets, Moody said the star player had a sore wrist and was taking rest.