To begin with, a quick update on my health. I had come back to Sri Lanka to get a thorough check-up done, and thankfully, everything is normal. I should be flying back to Mumbai on Monday and resuming my participation in the rest of the tournament, which looks to have got to a stage where every tactic, every strategy and every move to execute the two will count in deciding whether or not the sides will make it to the semi-finals.
Before the tournament had started, we had set our first goal as the semi-finals berth, and to get there, we had decided to take it one game at a time. Despite all that has happened in the past one month – yes, it’s already one month old, the tournament! – we do understand the importance of sticking to our plans of not thinking too far ahead of ourselves.
Despite the loss to Kolkata, the mood in the camp, even as I left for Sri Lanka, was upbeat. We were in a strong position in the game at the Eden Gardens but the run-out of Gautam turned things around against us.
KKR's defeat made matters worse for King Khan
Of course, we have also seen in the tournament that chasing targets has become increasingly difficult; especially those in the vicinity of 170 plus. One must realise that the factors going against the teams batting second are manifold. For one, the asking rate is almost nine runs per over from the very start of the innings, and a quick wicket here and there can inflate it much further.
Also, there is no doubt that in some of the venues, the surface has slowed down, as one would expect in a tournament of this nature, lasting more than six weeks. This does make chasing a difficult job, and even more so, in games that start at 4 pm.
And then, there are some pitches like the ones at Bangalore, where the track is hard and the ball comes on to the bat, hence making no difference to whether or not you are chasing a total. You get a good start, you bat reasonably well, and you should be able to chase down even 170 plus targets there.
IPL 2010: Full Coverage
I am obviously happy that we are not playing fifty over games in this heat, but only twenty over ones; which makes the task of the opening batsmen a tad easier whilst chasing totals. The good news, though, in hindsight is that the IPL has been strict about the over rates and there are many more instances of the overs getting bowled within the stipulated time.
There are obvious occasions when the break between the innings is restricted to the minimum ten minutes and it does make life tough for the openers. But, as professionals, we are expected to deal with these things and that is our job.
In our camp, both Ashish Nehra and Dirk Nannes seem to be recovering well from their fitness issues and very soon will ensure that the management has to do some thinking with the selection!