Nearing half-way, IPL wide open: Gilchrist

With IPL 4 nearing halfway mark of league stage, Kings XI Punjab skipper Adam Gilchrist on Monday said that the competition is wide open, barring Mumbai Indians’ strong position at the top, and every side would be desperately looking to win each game.

“Mumbai (Indians) now have five wins (from six games), but rest of the group is really packed in there and it is going to be very even competition,” 39-year-old Gilchrist said on the sidelines of a promotional event.

He reckoned Sachin Tendulkar-led Mumbai are the favourites in the competition.

“They are the best team in the competition, no doubt about that. They have a star-studded line-up that includes some good Indian domestic talent,” he said, adding KXIP were looking forward for a good show in the away and home game against them next month.

While Mumbai are on top of the points table, Rajasthan Royals are at second having won three out of their seven games. Kolkata Knight Riders are at third while KXIP are at fourth with three wins from five outings.

“Every game from here on is crucial … it’s a tight competition,” he said.

He, however, said that “while you’ve got to be desperate to win every game, reality is you don’t win every game. But that’s what (win each game) you strive for and we will try to do that”.

KXIP lost their last match against Delhi Daredevils by 29 runs in Delhi.

After losing their first game to Pune Warriors, Gilchrist’s team had stunned defending champions Chennai Super Kings when they chased down 188 at Mohali.

His team has been doing well in run chase, but Gilchrist felt it did not necessarily be the same way every time as playing conditions tend to change.

“It does not matter how well you are chasing, but it’s always hard when you are chasing 230,” said Gilchrist, veteran of 96 Tests and 287 ODIs.

He, however, heaped praise on compatriot Shaun Marsh and his opening partner Paul Valthaty for showing some exceptional form in the competition.

“Shaun Marsh’s couple of innings have been amazing while Paul Valthaty has been brilliant,” he said, as both the players have played match-winning knocks in the competition.

On the team’s next match against Kolkata Knight Riders, he said the Gautam Gambhir-led side has seen ups and downs a little bit and they would be looking for a win against them.

Asked what areas he thought there’s scope for improvement for his team, Gilchrist said they need to tighten their fielding a bit.

“You can always keep improving in everything… We batted well in patches and bowled well in patches. We need to tighten our fielding a little bit. We can lift our overall game and take it to another level. We are pleased with some of our results, but we can always keep improving,” he said.

The Australian also expressed his happiness with the way IPL had panned out over the years.

“Every year, you see some new talent come to the fore. That has been the beauty of this competition,” said Gilchrist, who has 9619 runs in ODI format and has played 73 T20 matches.

Asked on being miffed with the flat track at Ferozeshah Kotla in Delhi with short boundaries, Gilchrist said though he was not complaining “but you don’t want it to become a six-hitting competition rather than a game of cricket”.

“It was same for both teams and they (Delhi) did better than us, but you don’t want to see like that in all the IPL grounds – tiny little boundaries, it takes a bit away from the game,” he said.

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