Jennings backs play-off system

Royal Challengers coach stresses need for some fine-tuning

The top two teams in the group standings get two chances to make the final, while the teams that finish third and fourth must win two matches just to get into the title round.
It’s a system that has come in for much praise, though as Royal Challengers Bangalore coach Ray Jennings pointed out on Saturday night, it’s also a system that needs some fine-tuning.

“The system is a good system but three games in four days is unfair,” the South African said, referring to the fact that the third and fourth-placed teams will play in the second play-off in Mumbai on Wednesday, the winner travelling to Chennai and play in what is effectively the second semifinal on Friday, with the final scheduled for Saturday.

“The system is good but you also need some breathing space because if we end up playing on the 25th, 27th and 28th, and the guy who has played and won on the 24th -- it could be the Super Kings -- will have four days of rest and that could be unfair.”

All four teams in the play-offs -- the Challengers, their opponents on Sunday the Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians -- face the prospect of four matches in the next seven days at three different venues. How do teams prepare for a schedule as hectic as this, at this stage of the tournament with so much at stake?

“You’ve got to save energy in the way you travel. You’ve got to get to the airport as late as possible, you’ve got to ensure that you are in your hotel as quickly as possible and there is no disturbance from the public. You’ve got to practice correctly, get the batsmen in to practice for 15 to 20 minutes and get a car for them to get back. It is about looking after them well for a week.

“The players I have worked with know exactly what they need to do. It is important to protect their energy and protect their frustration level. The frustration level in a lost tour is very high. People get tired quickly because of the fatigue level and because of the extra added pressure off the field. Three centers in the next seven days is exciting.

Mumbai is a good side and I want to play in front of their crowd, Chennai is a good side and I want to play in front of their crowd and they haven’t lost a match there. I have an exciting week ahead of me with a group of cricketers who have shown great fighting spirit.”

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