A simple case of so near, yet so far. That’s been our story thus far in the tournament. The other day, we seemed to have got it right in the batting and bowling departments.
The pitch at Port Elizabeth wasn’t exactly conducive for batting and yet we managed to a good total. Then the bowling took over, keeping the strong Delhi batting in check. Our fielding though let us down yet again and in the end hurt us badly.
Also we seem to be bearing the brunt of the ball dropping tantalisingly between two fielders when the opposition batsmen take the aerial route. At the same time, every time our batsmen hit it, the ball somehow finds the fielder. This is not a lament, it’s just a recollection of the way things have been going for us. It is just that little bit of luck that’s been eluding us.
We have our next two matches in Durban and our aim is to record back-to-back wins. That’s the one way to get back to the right half of the points table. Two wins and the energy will be right back.
To do that though, we need our best men out in the park and here Rahul’s absence is going to hit us. He went back to Bangalore for the right reasons and this morning was blessed with a boy, his second. My hearty congratulations to him and his family.
Kevin Pietersen too will soon make his exit and it will no doubt affect us. We do have adequate batting replacements in Jesse and Boucher and have to put the loss of Rahul (temporary I hope) and Pietersen aside and get on with it.
It’s also time we took proper stock of our talent. We need to get the balance right and while it was always expected that it would take a few matches to decide our best combination, by now we know who can do what and must accordingly get going.
In our last game against Delhi, we introduced young KP Appanna and he turned out to be a revelation. Appanna got the ball to turn appreciably and the ball with which he dismissed AB, a fine player of spin, was a gem. We need to come up with more such moments in order to reverse the trend.
One thing we are clear about though. It is still early days in the tournament and there’s a long way to go.
We will do all we can to make a comeback. And what better place to do that than Durban, which sometimes feels just like India?