Monday evening was a setback but we can take comfort in the fact that the Chennai Super Kings are more or less assured of a place in the semi-finals. Our batsmen did their job by putting up a formidable total but the bowlers disappointed. They could not have asked more of the batsmen who made light of even Matthew Hayden’s absence, our mainstay till then.
It was not an easy decision to rest Hayden but there is something called as fatigue management. All this travelling from venue to venue, day in and out, can take its toll and we have to manage players in such a way that a serious injury is prevented rather than a cure attempted after it occurs.
As far as what went wrong on Monday, I can compare the game to the one against the Kings XI a few days back. We won a close game thanks to our bowlers. They hit the right areas and made the batsmen take risks. At times, the batsmen hit the good balls, but then that’s acceptable. On Monday, that wasn’t the case, and whether it was the yorker, the change of pace or whatever, the execution was flawed. I maintain the thought process was still good but not so with the execution.
Having said that, it is always better for such things to happen now rather than in the semis and hopefully the final. I do accept as the bowling coach, that as a bowling unit we are making errors. Our performances have been patchy but we always looking at ways to evolve whenever we step out on to the park for the next game.
This is the positive I take closer to the business end of the tournament. We have gone through lots of ups and downs and in the process we would have learnt to do better.
What we have realised is when we play as a bowling unit, a minimum of three bowlers have to come good. One or two will always have a bad day but you can’t have just one bowler having a good day, just as one batsman scoring 90, while all others fail, will still leave you with a total of only 130 or so.
What we have to do is increase the percentage of dot balls and reduce the boundary balls.
The number of bad deliveries simply has to come down. As it is, so many times good balls are put away by batsmen in this format, why make it easier for them with ordinary stuff.
We have one more chance to make the semis on our own strength rather than ride piggyback on some other result. We play the Kings XI in our last match on Wednesday at Kingsmead, and a victory there will put us at the number two position.