Mumbai: Aware that they are up against a formidable batting side, Kings XI Punjab chief coach Darren Lehmann says their bowlers will have to do the job against Mumbai Indians, here on Monday.
"Mumbai played really well (against RCB). Obviously they are a dangerous side, so we will have to bowl really well. If we have any strength, it`s our bowling. So I expect us to bowl well," said the former Australian Test cricketer. "Mumbai are a quality side and they have played really well of late. So for us, we have to be on top of our game to beat them," he added.
Conceding that their batsmen have not performed to the expectations level, Lehmann felt they seemed to have improved over the last few matches. "Our bowling hasn`t been good enough, although our batting has been more impressive in the last few games. Even in Kolkata I thought we batted okay. We thought 150 were enough (against KKR). But we didn?t bowl very well."
Conceding that their batsmen have not performed to the expectations level, Lehmann felt they seemed to have improved over the last few matches.
"They are always tough to beat at Kolkata for example. I thought we batted reasonably well. It was a spinning track, but this one here is a batting track and hopefully our batsmen can play with freedom and play the strokes," Lehmann said. While MI have 10 points from 8 games, Kings XI are struggling with four wins and four losses at the half-way stage of their league campaign.
He also praised the Wankhede Stadium wicket here as a good T20 track while insisting his team was not looking too far ahead towards the play-offs as yet. "It`s a good wicket isn`t it? It was good last night. Obviously it had some bounce and carry in it, a good Twenty20 wicket. "
Asked whether the team's under-performing captain Adam Gilchrist would sit out like MI captain and his former Australia teammate Ricky Ponting had done in the last two games, Lehmann played it safe. "Yeah, he knows he has got to make some runs. Whether he does it this game or the next game or the game after that, I don't know. We will just sit down. I am not going to tell you whether he is playing or not against MI. We know he has to make runs. He is part of the selection panel so we will work that out for tomorrow's game.
"We treat everyone the same whether he is the captain or the 18th man on your list side." David Hussey did not come out to train today and Lehmann said he was slightly under the weather, but should be fine for the game while the fitness of another Australian batsman, Shaun Marsh, would be assessed after the training session.
Lehmann was of the view that a team had to win at least nine games out of 16 to be assured of a play-off berth. "I think the way it's going, you have to win nine. If you have a good run rate, you might just scrape through with eight. But if you nine, you would be fine I think," he said.
Lehmann backed one of his key bowlers Piyush Chawla, saying the leg spinner had not got the rewards for the good work he has put in. "We think he has actually bowled quite well. He has had a couple of catches dropped and a couple of missed stumpings and half chances. He has bowled okay. He is bowling where we want him to bowl. We know he is a wicket-taker. Hopefully he gets some wickets for us in the back (portion) of the tournament."