Crucial for RCB to finish in top two

It’s a nice feeling to be a part of the play-offs, and to have realised our first goal. From here on, we are in a knockout scenario, in a manner of speaking. The changed format this year means this isn’t quite what the teams are used to, though personally, I am quite excited about what lies ahead in the next fortnight.

Obviously, when you are in the knockouts, you need a bit of luck to go your way, because it all boils down to how you perform on that particular day. However, it is important that we don’t get too far ahead of ourselves.

Yes, the first objective has been attained, but now that we are in the play-offs, it becomes crucial to finish in the top two so that you get two cracks at a place in the final. That’s why it’s vital  to end the league phase on a victorious note, for not only will it allow you to carry further momentum into the business end, it will also assure you a place at the head of the group standings.

Of course, if you finish in the top two and then win that semifinal encounter, then you automatically go through to the final at the first instance, which is quite the ideal scenario.

The two teams that finish one and two in the league table play two semifinals, so to speak, while the teams that end up third and fourth first play what is effectively a quarterfinal, the winner then playing a semifinal.

It’s never easy to win three games in four days to win the title, especially when the matches are to be played in Mumbai and Chennai which, at this time of the year, are particularly hot and humid.

At this point, all our energies are directed towards trying to finish in the top two. Right now, three teams including us are in a position to achieve that, and we will be playing one of the other two contenders, Chennai Super Kings, in our last league encounter.
We have had a fair few injuries in recent times, the most significant one being Dan Vettori’s knee. After Tuesday’s match here in picturesque Dharamsala, we have four days off, and hopefully by the time the play-offs come around in a week’s time, Dan and the rest on the injured list will all be ready and raring to go.

We were delighted with our victory in Bangalore the other night against the Knight Riders, but I was especially happy that we could have a game at all in the first place. At one stage midway through the match, it appeared as if the elements would have the final say, and that would have been disappointing, to say the least.

I was particularly thrilled for the huge crowd at the Chinnaswamy stadium that they got to see a result, and a popular home victory, at that! During the downpour, the crowd waited patiently in the fond hope that they would get more play, and their prayers were eventually answered.

In two overs, Chris Gayle made the wait worth it with some stunning strokeplay. No wonder he is as popular as he is in Bangalore!

That we got a game at all was also full credit to the drainage facilities at the ground, and to the tireless efforts of the ground staff. The efficacy of the Duckworth-Lewis method in Twenty20 cricket has come under focus, but that’s a topic we shall leave for another day.

Hawkeye Communications

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