Only pride to play for: Vettori

Only pride to play for: Vettori

With their play-off chances gone, coach Daniel Vettori exhorted the Royal Challengers Bangalore to play for the pride of the franchisee.

“I don’t think it’s the time to assess the campaign,” said the Kiwi, more or less admitting that the last year’s finalists were out of the reckoning. “We still have four more games left. And they are really important for the pride of the franchisee.

Before we gather ourselves, we have a pretty tough schedule with five games in nine days. We travel to Mumbai tomorrow (Sunday) and we need to play well there, it’s a 4.00 pm game. We know how hot it will be and how well Mumbai are playing. It’s a chance to regroup and push ourselves up,” he offered.

Opting to bowl first, RCB restricted Pune Supergiant to 157/3, a performance with which Vettori was quite happy about.  

“I was very happy,” he began. “The bowling performance throughout the season has been exceptional. It has been a real improvement from where we were last year and on some of the wickets that we have played on. I thought the way we fought back, particularly with Adam Milne and Sreenath Aravind in the death. (Pawan) Negi has been fantastic for us. There’s been some really bright spots in our performances, so we are really pleased with their performances,” he stressed.

Vettori admitted batting has been their Achilles heel this season. “Last season we had a different batting line up with the likes of KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan (both injured this time),” he pointed out. “We had a number of other guys who underperformed which we didn’t expect of them. Virat has led us exceptionally well with his captaincy, with his batting. He’s been the lone light. So, the group knows where we have not performed and we need to rectify it in our next few games.”

The former New Zealand skipper, however, was less harsh on the lower middle order, which has consistently failed to perform. 

“We expect the likes of Stuart Binny and Pawan Negi to be complementary pieces so that they can finish off the innings. Unfortunately they had to do a lot more than that (with the top-order failing repeatedly). So, that hasn’t allowed them to perform their major roles.”

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