On the eve of what could possibly be his last match of the season, Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Daniel Vettori was in no mood to bid farewell. The Kiwi ace was seen rolling his arm over for an extended period, working on the finer nuances of his craft.
Many of Mumbai Indians’ big guns, including the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Lasith Malinga, skipped practice. Vettori could ill-afford such a luxury.
If the match against MI on Friday also goes down to the wire, the RCB skipper wants to make sure he has a bowling plan in place. After what happened against the Chennai Super Kings on Tuesday, one can hardly blame him.
Vettori had been the most economical bowler on show in the IPL going into the qualifier against the Chennai Super Kings. The crafty Kiwi had an economy rate of 5.40 in a format where quick runs are the order of the day. On Tuesday, when CSK required 12 off the final over, there was no safer bet than Vettori.
At his economy rate it would have taken CSK 2.2 overs to knock off the runs. Albie Morkel needed just four balls. Vettori stood forlorn after the South African swatted the third-last ball of the match over mid-wicket into the North Stand.
He knew what a splendid chance of advancing to the final had slipped from RCB's grasp. “We were probably in control for most of the game, until the last five overs, when we did not bowl well. When there are quality players in the middle who can clear the ball out of the ground, that makes it tough, and we gave too many balls that were hit for sixes," he said after the match.
On Thursday, he reiterated the same — bowling in the death needs to improve. The skipper is now taking the onus on himself. Last Sunday, after comprehensively beating CSK, Vettori supported the theory of using his best bowlers upfront.
“I support the theory where we can use our best bowlers as soon as possible so that we can change the game. At the end, it is a bit of a lottery. Anyone can go for runs,” he said.
On Friday, if the match goes into the final over, there's just one hand the ball will find its way to.