Kings XI Punjab skipper George Bailey said that their opponents in Friday's Champions League T20 game, the Northern Knights, cannot be taken lightly and his team will have to be at its very best to beat them.
Bailey, who has led the IPL finalists with back-to-back wins and need another victory to earn a semi-final berth, said that he has a lot of respect for the Northern Knights. (Complete coverage of Champions League Twenty20)
"I think they are a very very strong side, they have played some great cricket. I know it is going to be a really big challenge. And certainly as far as us making the semi-finals, we know we have to still win one of the next two games," Bailey said on the eve of tomorrow's match to be played at the PCA stadium here.
Despite a crushing defeat, which the Northern Knights had to suffer at the hands of Hobart Hurricanes in their last outing after notching a convincing win earlier, Bailey feels this can happen in T20, but the Kiwi side cannot be taken lightly as they will look to make a strong comeback.
When asked that the Knights' two opening bowlers, Tim Southee and Trent Boult, may try to build up pressure on their batting early on and how his team intends to tackle that, Bailey said it was not just the two top class bowlers, but they have a good bowling depth.
"..Their two opening bowlers will try to put pressure on us. But I think they have got good depth in their bowling and good variation and I am sure they will bounce back, so we will have to be at our very best," he pointed out.
Despite notching up two wins, Bailey said "I don't think we have played a great game of cricket yet, particularly with the bat. I think we have bowled nicely in a couple of games, but I think our batting still hasn't clicked, so there is lot to improve."
Asked about the flexibility in his team's batting lineup, Bailey said, "I think the game is conducive to flexibility, to being able to adapt to situations and to have different options obviously, to combat something that you see from the opposition and to keep teams guessing in all respects so as to make sure that you don't become too predictable."
Bailey heaped praise on his all-rounder and Sri Lankan import Thisara Perera, who has impressed with his bowling.
"He has done really well, he is a quality player, he has done very well for Sri Lanka as well in the last six or twelve months. The challenge is always, during IPL and in this tournament, that you can only play four overseas players. Luckily, for us in this tournament we only have four and he is going to get a great opportunity and he is certainly taking that, which is great."