Kings XI Punjab seems to have made a habit out of winning, this season. Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, seems to be struggling to break a losing sequence in Pepsi IPL-7.
Going into the second match of the India leg, MI is placed in an awkward situation of having to step out in front of adoring home fans without performances in keeping with their reputation.
The amphitheatre-like setting at the Wankhede stadium, tinged with blue by noisy MI fans, can be intimidating for visiting teams walking out to the middle under harsh sunlight. However, success can be addictive for KXIP after five wins in a row, and George Bailey’s men may put on another standout show and stun the fans into silence.
Bailey is able to extract performances from his team without any open show of authority on the field. The players are an ebullient bunch, clearly aware of individual roles in the overall scheme of things.
Coach Sanjay Bangar does his job quietly in the background, leaving the players to take credit for wins.
Asked to spell out the role of the support staff, Bailey said: “Bangar does not have to worry about the results. His work is to look at areas the team is supposed to work on and tick the boxes wherever it applies.”
“Our support staff brings calmness to the squad, do not go on a high when we win, or feel low in defeat. They’ve worked hard to get wherever they’ve reached, and it has given them a better understanding of the players.”
With his team perched on top in the league table, Bailey said he would approach the India leg as a new beginning.
“Every team starts from zero. It is like a new tournament,” he said, adding that he would be wary of every opponent, including the bottom-placed Mumbai Indians.