It is always good to come up with ideas but to execute them with the precision that was seen in the match against Mumbai Indians was something else. A case of well-laid plans executed even better!
It obviously helped that we were playing at home, where we have been able to do a good job in the past as well and our excellent record here continues. Not for nothing has the Sawai Man Singh stadium being called a fortress for the Royals.
RR eager to continue winning streak against Pune
I must admit that it was a much slower track than what we had expected it to be. Looking at it before the game we knew that run-scoring was not going to be as easy as on some of the other pitches in the competition but it turned out to be even more difficult than what we had envisaged.
Usually, the new ball is crucial on slow pitches like this with the ball coming on to the bat and making it a tad easier but there were some that skidded and there were others which gripped. That worked in our favour against a side which has a list of some excellent stroke-players.
Johan Botha has been our most consistent player in the tournament so far and he did it again in the Mumbai Indians game. He has batted at an unfamiliar position at number three, overcome his fracture in the middle of the tournament and done an excellent job. On a pitch where most batsmen found it difficult to get going, Botha's 39-ball 45 was worth its weight in gold.
Not only the fact that he got three out, it was the timing of those wickets that proved crucial. Both Symonds and Pollard had got themselves in and had it not been for their dismissals, we may have been chasing 120-130, a difficult target on that wicket.
Warne uncertain for match against Pune
We play Pune next, who have lost five in a row and will be coming hard at us. The home advantage remains for us but we can ill-afford to take the wounded Warriors side for granted. They have a good top-order with the likes of Jesse Ryder, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey and Yuvraj and they will look to get going with the bat. Jesse's got some good starts in the tournament so far while having played with Manish and Robin in the previous seasons, I know what they are capable of.
We will be playing on a new pitch, which should make batting easier. As an individual, I would like some more time at the crease but if we can keep the winning momentum as we have in the last couple of games, I am more than happy with the current scenario! If we can string together a set of three or four wins in the tournament, we will give ourselves a good chance of going through to the next stage and that is what we will be aiming for.
Professional Management Group