Kolkata: A jam-packed Eden Gardens could be intimidating for any team but table toppers Kings XI Punjab coach Sanjay Bangar said they`re not wary of the partisan Kolkata crowd and are looking forward to revel in the challenging conditions.
Eden Gardens always boosts of an electrifying crowd as the vociferous 70,000 odd fans are known for stepping up the decibel levels and Bangar said they are looking forward to the challenge of taking on the home team at their den. "We are looking forward to it. Eden Gardens has an history of producing great cricket because of the crowd and the atmosphere that is created. Its good to have that sort of competition and challenge for both the teams. We will revel in the conditions," Bangar said in the match-eve presser today.
Kings XI Punjab have shed their underdogs tag this season with some clinical performances as they have led the table right from the start and finished on a high with 11 wins from 14 matches. The secret, Bangar said, was to not think much and focus on their positives.
"The key is not to think too far ahead and try and do things you`re good at and challenge your limitations that has been the emphasis of our team. We`ve not gone beyond that. Maybe that has helped us play some consistent cricket over a long period of time," Bangar said.
It`s KKR who have beaten Kings XI Punjab by 23 runs in the first leg, which was KXIP`s one of the three losses, the other being to Mumbai Indians on both legs but Bangar said it`s all history. "Past records don`t really indicate anything. The teams that have got to the play-offs have played really good cricket and whichever team plays well on that day will hold an edge," he said.
"Each team comes out with their own strategies, we`ll also try to negate the positives like any other team does to counter the opposition."
Bangar, however, said KKR would be high on confidence after posting seven wins on the trot as they made the second spot with the help of some sensational batting by Yusuf Pathan in their match versus Sunrisers Hyderabad. "They were not in a great position to make the No 2 spot but they played some outstanding cricket to get there. Even a team like Mumbai (Indians) has surprised everyone by qualifying for the semifinals from nowhere.
"I think these two teams will have great confidence coming into the play-offs but CSK and we have played consistent cricket over a larger period of time," Bangar said. The biggest impact in the KXIP ranks has been that of Glenn Maxwell, who has scored 533 runs from 13 matches, and Bangar said it was a deliberate decision to have impact players at the auction something that worked for the team.
"We wanted to have some impact players in the batting department which we did. In the bowling department, we felt we were a few bowlers short but the young Indian bowlers have come out delivered in style. The idea was to put up a well-balanced squad and so far things have worked out," he said.
"I think all the teams really have been well thought out because of the entire reshuffle of the players. It`s just not Kings XI Punjab (who have made sensible buys). All the teams have balanced outfits," he added. The wicket has been under cover since yesterday`s downpour and Bangar said they would decide on their playing XI only after seeing the surface.
"The surface of the wicket is important and we will wait for the covers to come off before taking a call on our XI." Asked whether being the only Indian to be at the coaching helm has helped him, Bangar said: "All other teams also have Indian coaches in their support staff, from my advantage, I`ve been playing only since 15 months ago so I know most of the boys and how they respond to match situation. Maybe it helped a bit in a sense."
"It is for the other teams to decide. I always felt that sense of responsibility. I`ve tried to give my best and try to really step up and take up the responsibility."