Our run chases must, from hereon, come with a warning that they are ‘not for the faint-hearted’. And like most self-induced heart attacks, thanks to bad habits, it is we alone who have made the chases tough for ourselves. All credit to Ross Taylor who saw us through in two tough games. His innings against Kolkata was the best I have seen in this format.
In team meetings, everyone has been talking about the points table. I have told everyone to forget worrying about it. We can’t control other teams and their results and so there’s no point in wasting time on it.
Instead we decided to go out and enjoy ourselves. We did falter against Mumbai on a good batting track. We lost too many wickets early on and just couldn’t recover. The bowlers did their job to restrict them but we couldn’t complete the job.
As far as the game against Kolkata is concerned, we knew they had to come strong at some point. Brendon McCullum really got going and left us with some batting to do. But then, Ross took over and scored an 80-odd runs.
We must not forget Vinay Kumar’s efforts with the ball. He used the new ball extremely well, both against Mumbai and Kolkata and forced Matthew Hayden to take more than his normal share of risks in our game against Chennai.
Talking about Hayden, his imposing presence was the reason I opened the bowling on Thursday. Haydos and Suresh Raina have scored nearly 800 runs between them and we reasoned that it was worth a gamble trying to get Haydos to take a chance against spin first up. I thought about a second over too but you only have four overs in this format and you have to mix it up.
It wasn’t just the bowling that kept Chennai under control. Our catching and fielding were outstanding and I once again credit it to our resolve to remain relaxed on the field.