With three wins on the trot, the Royal Challengers have been striking the right chords of late. Four wins from eight matches, they had won only four last year, have been possible with everyone rallying around the team, something that was missing last year.
Brijesh Patel, the team CEO, laid out two differences between last year and the current edition. “Firstly, we are playing as a team and secondly, we have a good all-round side,” he said.
Among the performers, South African medium-pacer Dillon du Preez impressed on debut with three wickets against the Mumbai Indians on Sunday and left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe had caught the eye earlier on.
“(Coach) Ray Jennings has seen in them two outstanding youngsters who will make it to the national side. Van der Merwe has made it to the SA side (he won the Man-of-the-Match award in his T20 debut against Australia in March) while du Preez should make it soon. We had to sign some boys with all-round abilities and they have clicked,” Patel said.
Captain Anil Kumble was pleased with du Preez. “The way he bowled was brilliant.”
Jennings’ ride has been smooth so far, though he did run into a rough patch when the team lost four in a row. “I have quite a few South Africans in the side. Aware of the conditions, they know what to do according to the game plan. They are tougher and are always willing to give it their best shot,” Jennings said.
The coach didn't feel it was a risk recommending two unknown players to the team owner. “I had watched them (van der Merwe and du Preez) and worked with them for two years,” he said. “They are good cricketers and that is why they play. They are explosive with the bat too.”
Along with Mark Boucher and Jacques Kallis, RCB had their foreign quota against Mumbai Indians filled by South Africans. Is it something that the RCB will use often? “It is an area we are looking at. It depends on the conditions,” Jennings said.
After an off day, only the reserves were involved in net practice on Monday, Jennings is planning to take the team to a private game farm on Tuesday “for them to connect to each other”.