A score of 160 or so against Chennai Super Kings yesterday would have been ideal, but 140 was a good total to defend taking into account the way the pitch was playing: square and slow. Chennai are the team in form and Hayden and Badrinath did very well to help take them home, but 15 runs or so more would have put their batsmen under a bit more pressure.
We meet the Deccan Chargers again tomorrow, and they like us have been having a bit of a roller-coaster tournament. We are both coming off losses: they went down to Punjab later yesterday. We both have five wins and four losses each and even though we beat them the last time we met, we cannot afford to be complacent. In fact, it is a big game for both of us as we will be looking to consolidate our position and push for a place in the semi-finals.
We will be playing at Kimberley again, and the pitch may be even slower than it was yesterday. How we bowl will be crucial, and we will be looking to restrict them to as small a total as we can. In that respect, Amit, Ravindra and, of course, Warne have been very consistent. Amit, unfortunately, has been reported and is the second bowler from our team after Kamran to come under scrutiny. This is very tough for youngsters like them, and we need to send them through the right process and support them so that they can sort things out as soon as possible.
Deccan have four key players they rely on: Gilly and Gibbs who have been consistent, and Symonds, who has made a late, but impressive, entry for them. Rohit Sharma is also looking dangerous: he has been having a great tournament with both bat and ball, and played really well against Mumbai Indians where he grabbed four wickets. If we can, however, get our tactics right, we will be able to put them under a lot of pressure.
We have been playing well all week, winning three games before yesterday. Our batting is getting better and better: we started off slowly in that department, while the bowling and fielding has been good throughout the tournament. For us, the top order is strong and we will have to play well to give the team a good start to build on tomorrow, then that will take the pressure off youngsters like Ravindra, Asnodkar and Raut and help them play their natural game. We will also be making one or two little chances that could work for us.
We have in Warne a brave captain who is not afraid to take risks. I have a lot of respect for Gilly and he has done really well to turn Deccan around after last season. They are both good leaders, and -class players: Gilly with the bat and Warne with the ball. They are also both very competitive, and at the end of the day leadership will be crucial. (Gameplan)