'Travelling is the hardest part'

 When they line up against the Chennai Super Kings here on Saturday afternoon, it will be their third game in five days. Daniel Vettori’s men are coming off two consecutive defeats, and won’t particularly welcome the prospect of playing a day game here after their night loss to the Deccan Chargers on Thursday, even if they have no choice in the matter.

As aware as teams might be of the gruelling schedule and the demands travelling and cramming matches might put on their bodies, it is impossible not to feel the strain of the mad scramble, especially when the results aren’t going your way.

The Challengers arrived at their hotel in Hyderabad on Wednesday night, well past 7.00 pm, after the exertions of the previous day. Likewise, they didn’t reach Chennai until very late in the evening from Hyderabad, meaning that all they could do was rest and recuperate in their hotel when they might have been better off getting to the match venue and stretching their limbs.

“The travelling is perhaps the hardest part of the IPL,” skipper Daniel Vettori conceded. “But that’s something we have to manage because it is the same for all teams, it is consistent for everyone. You just can't say any team has an advantage in terms of that. It is a hectic and tough schedule but it is the same for everyone.”

Despite defeats in their last two games, Vettori remained optimistic on Thursday night – RCB had no media interaction on Friday – as he looked ahead to the match against the Super Kings. “Kings XI showed that the Super Kings are not infallible,” the veteran left-arm spinner pointed out, referring to the Paul Valthaty heroics that laid the holders low. “They are still a very good team, not without reason are they the champions of the IPL and the Champions League, but they are not invincible.”

The skipper sounded a desperate call to his team. “We have to focus on our bowling and our fielding. We have got to field better, and we have just got to get the fifth bowler right. Against the Chargers, we perhaps conceded 25 runs in the field. Unless we remedy that, it will be our Achilles’ heel throughout the tournament.”

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