That time of the year is back when the T20 extravaganza resumes, and in a much more grand fashion now. It’s not the Indian Premier League, or the Big Bash League or the Carribean Premier League, but it is the Champions League T20.
Top 3 IPL teams, Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab, and Chennai Super Kings have qualified for the tournament. Mumbai Indians too can be a part of the tournament if they manage to go through the qualifiers.
Out of all the teams, there is one team which stands out, and that is Kings XI Punjab. Even though they did not manage to win the IPL trophy, their performance throughout the tournament and their aggressive and positive approach towards the game won hearts of many.
One can say that explosive batsmen like Virender Sehwag, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, and George Bailey form one of the most destructive batting line-up in T20 cricket. And with youngsters like Manan Vohra and Wriddhiman Saha doing well, it won’t be wrong in saying that Kings XI have one of the best batting line-up for the upcoming Champions League tournament.
The team’s IPL season was fantastic. Glenn Maxwell and Virender Sehwag, the two top scorers for the team lifted the team with their individual performances. Glenn Maxwell was fantastic in the first half of the tournament, whereas Virender Sehwag kept chipping in with several crucial 30s and 40s giving the much needed momentum a team needs at the start.
It was high time when Sehwag had to convert his promising starts into a big one. And there could have been no better day than a ‘do-or-die’ game against the arch-rivals Chennai Super Kings.
The match was at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, and I was present at the stadium. Chennai Super Kings won the toss and elected to field first. The crowd went berserk on seeing Virender Sehwag come out to bat. Sehwag, as expectedly, started off his innings well, going all guns blazing since the start.
For us being the spectators present at the stadium, it was a treat to watch vintage Virender Sehwag back. If he wasn’t tired after hammering the pace bowlers, he decided to go after the experienced spinning duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja as well, thereby easily clearing the fence whenever he intended to.
Prior to this knock, the seventh edition of the IPL saw just one ton, coming from the willow of Lendl Simmons. Sehwag’s ton was the second of IPL 7, and the highest individual score of the season. He reached his century off just 50 deliveries, and eventually ended on 122, ensuring Kings XI have much more than a winning score.
The crowd cheered up Sehwag in grand fashion, giving him a standing ovation. The chants of ‘Viru Viru’ and ‘Sehwag Sehwag’ brought back old memories. At the same time, it was heartwarming to see Kings XI Punjab’s co-owner, Preity Zinta celebrate the ton. Her expressions clearly portrayed every Indian cricket fan’s reaction who were waiting to see the vintage Virender Sehwag back.
Later Chennai Super Kings gave a good fight-back, with major contribution by Suresh Raina. A wonderful run-out by George Bailey to dismiss Raina turned the match on his head in favor of the Kings XI once again.
The experience of watching the match at the stadium was wonderful. We had taken a poster with us, featuring Virender Sehwag and Glenn Maxwell. The poster read, “If cricket is a religion, Sehwag is my God”. I do not think I could have found a better day to have taken this poster to the ground, because Sehwag’s performance was Godly indeed.
And now the Kings XI Punjab are back, and they will take on the Hobart Hurricanes on the 18th of September. All one can expect is that Kings XI Punjab continue their good form, and win the tournament this time. At the same time, all eyes will be on Virender Sehwag, who has certainly made a strong statement after a wonderful IPL season. If the Champions League goes well for him, there are huge possibilities of him making a comeback in the Indian team. Seeing Sehwag back in Indian colors is what every cricket fan will be hoping for, and we can just hope that we will not be left disappointed.