Such is the nature of competitive sport that you need to keep revisiting your goals and ambitions as you move forward. Our first aim at Royal Challengers Bangalore when IPL-4 began was to secure a place in the playoffs. When that was realised with two matches to play, the focus shifted to topping
Royal Challengers Bangalore fielders congratulate bowler Zaheer Khan (C) for taking the wicket of Chennai Super Kings batsman Michael Hussey (R) during the IPL Twenty20 cricket match in Bangalore.
the league table for the first time in our history.
It was, therefore, extremely gratifying to achieve that feat too, and qualify for the Champions League, on Sunday. We had a near perfect game against Chennai, and it was a fitting end to our campaign at home this season.
After losing our first home match to the Mumbai Indians, we have gone unbeaten at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, and strung together five successive wins.
It was great to see Chris Gayle leading the batting charge again but to me, it was the bowlers who set up the victory. Zaheer led from the front. We will be playing in Mumbai on Tuesday, and that it will be against the Super Kings is in many ways good for us because Sunday's victory has come as a big morale-booster.
We won't relax
I have been asked if there is the possibility of the team relaxing in the first playoff because even if we lose, there is a second chance to make the final. We have to approach the playoff like a knockout semifinal, lift ourselves and ensure we get the job done on Tuesday itself because otherwise, you will end up playing an extra game and that is not ideal, especially when the matches are in Mumbai and Chennai.
Before Sunday's game, we spoke about how, including the final, we want to play just three more matches. To avoid an additional game will be an extra motivation. We must approach Tuesday like a sudden-death semifinal, and forget there is a second chance.