Games not won on paper: Jennings

Games not won on paper: Jennings

Ray Jennings

“It’s a tough job,” the Royal Challengers coach said on Friday morning. “Obviously,  the guys are very disappointed that they aren’t in the final, but that’s professional sport. The important thing is for the guys to understand that winners are guys that come back after a loss. The Deccan Chargers have got one day less than we have (to recover). It’s going to be tough for them as well. Hopefully, our side’s a lot more professional than the opposition.”

The Challengers’ training session had to be halted after just one hour at the BCK Facility. “The nets weren’t good. The pitch was underprepared and it leads to poor training methods and poor intensity, so we shortened the net session,” the South African explained. “But we are determined to stay positive and focus on what lies ahead.”

The Bangalore boys are one of the strongest batting units on paper, though in the last few games, they haven’t found their bearings. “Games are not won on paper,” Jennings pointed out. “The important thing in 20-over cricket is that bowling, batting and fielding work together as a unit. It’s actually very difficult to score runs, no matter what side you have on paper, if it’s 20 or 30 runs above par. That’s the problem – players are going in with reputations and they don’t have enough balls to have a look at the pace of the wicket. And then to have to end up scoring 12-13 runs an over from ball one becomes quite difficult.

“Kallis has gone off a little bit on his form,” admitted Jennings, “but he can get form at any stage. In this tournament, it’s quite easy to go off form if you are under pressure. We are aware of Kallis’ form but again, the Deccan Chargers won’t be happy to bowl against Kallis because he is a world-class cricketer.”

Jennings tipped the Mumbai Indians to put it past the Chennai Super Kings in the final. “They have home ground advantage, they are playing good cricket. They understand their roles, they seem to be clicking as a unit.

“The overall areas in 20-over cricket have been played better by Mumbai than any other side in the competition. Definitely, my money is on them but looking at T20 cricket, any side can win on their day.

“Sachin is the key guy but with his finger injury, I don’t know if he is going to play. He quite a key guy in the captaincy as well and in the energy on the field. Mumbai can’t afford to lose him, especially the image he creates. I think this will be a 60-40, 70-30 split.”

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