The second qualifier at the Wankhede Stadium was an absolute cracker, a veritable run-fest where batsmen from both sides enjoyed themselves at the expense of the hapless bowlers. It was a battle between equals and the better side on the day won the game. There was no element of luck involved in Kings XI Punjab’s victory over Chennai Super Kings. Once they had posted the volume of runs on the board, you would expect the bowlers to defend that total.
Virender Sehwag’s blitzkrieg was long overdue, I would say. Throughout the tournament, Viru has made runs and promised a lot, but the big innings remained elusive. An innings of this quality will re-instill in him the desire to make an international comeback because clearly, he still has the quality and the hunger in him.
What was on offer was the rarity of strokeplay that only Viru can produce. His six over long-off off Ishwar Pandey was a most extraordinary shot, vintage Sehwag. That shot, as much as the innings in its entirety, showed how much Sehwag wanted to win this match for his team. He was the architect of Punjab’s maiden entry into the final, and having warmed himself up, Viru will fancy another crack on Sunday in the final.
I am very happy for Sanjay Bangar, the Kings XI coach. He is a thorough gentleman and has done a wonderful job behind the scenes, quietly going about his business. He isn’t a chest-thumping, self-promoting individual but a calm, composed, clear-thinking person. His calmness and demeanour, I’m sure, has done wonders for his players. His success is highlighted by the fact that he is the only Indian coach in the IPL, and I wish him the best for the future. Having played with him, I can vouch for the fact that he is a very good, thinking cricketer.