Few cricketers get to experience the joys of winning a major tournament once in their careers. Mitchell Johnson will be hoping to do so twice in as many seasons when his Kings XI Punjab side takes on Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League final early Monday morning.
Johnson was part of the Mumbai Indians side that took home top honours last year in his first tournament and will be hoping to repeat the dose alongside Australian teammates Glenn Maxwell and skipper George Bailey in Kings XI's first ever IPL final.
Despite his apparent love affair with the tournament Johnson is quick to attribute the majority of his success to a great sense of timing.
“This is the same as last year, (but) for a different team,” he told IPLT20.com after their qualifying final win over the Chennai Super Kings.
“Hopefully, my team can once again get over the line this time.”
But if Kings XI want to lift the championship trophy, they’ll have to get past a Knight Riders side full of confidence – especially coming straight off their victory over Kings XI in the first qualifying final.
“Everyone was pretty disappointed after the first qualifier against KKR," said Johnson.
“But throughout the tournament every time we have lost a game, we’ve bounced back really well.
“A lot of young guys in the team have done exceptionally well."(close quotes)
But it was one of the old campaigners that stood up for Bailey’s side in the second qualifying final, Virender Sehwag blasting 122 off 58 balls to orchestrate a 24-run victory.
“He waited until the final to show his best and that’s very good for us," said Johnson.
“He even ran a couple of quick twos and singles today. That’s pretty good to see. Hopefully, he can recover in time for the final and we can see him at his best again.”
The fiery left-armer also identified the moment he felt swung the game back in Kings XI Punjab’s favour.
“The turning point was George’s run-out of Raina,” he said, referring to the end of a blistering 87 runs off 25 balls from Suresh Raina.
“The way he was batting, you couldn’t bowl anywhere to him. They were 100 after six overs and they were flying.
“All the boys are pretty chuffed (about the victory) right now and they should be.
“But we still have one more game left to win.
“The Bangalore ground is a small one, but the wicket can sometimes be good for fast bowlers.
“We’ll just give our best, and whatever the result, we’ll walk off proud as a team.”
Stay tuned to cricket.com.au for live coverage of the final from 12:30am AEST Monday morning.