Indian Premier League 2010 April 1, 2010

Six teams vying for three semi-final spots

We have to up our performance in the next seven matches and make amends in disciplines in which we have floundered

At the halfway stage of the tournament, Kolkata Knight Riders' are slowly but definitely getting into knock-out mode. Every single outing is going to be crucial in determining our fate. There are seven games to go and, by this stage, we would have definitely wanted a few more points in our kitty. That would have made our position interesting in the tournament.

At the Feroz Shah Kotla, having lost the toss, we were initially done in by David Warner. Delhi Daredevils' lost three quick wickets but Warner's attitude was the saving grace for his side.

We needed someone to counter Warner's batting when we resumed our innings. It was the first thing on our minds but we realised it was easier said than done. The ball was gripping and coming on to the bat so slowly that stroke-making seemed like an out-of-syllabus question. Even Dirk Nannes, who likes to generate as much pace as possible, was rolling his fingers over. Warner pushed the run-rate while the pitch was fresh and the quicks were bowling. We missed Shane Bond against Delhi and are looking forward to his presence on our home turf. Bond's bowling at the beginning makes a difference.

We take on Deccan Chargers in a situation very different from the first encounter. They have settled down since that first match and should be a more competitive unit. We need to find our bearing as a batting unit. It is not as if no one is feeling the pinch. Gayle, Hussey and Bond all have reputations to protect and so do the others. However, one has to take into account the cricketing aspects that have an influence on the game and shape results. That we still stand a chance cannot just be on paper anymore. It needs to be immediately evident on the ground. It isn't impossible to achieve. We have won three matches in the first leg. We have to up our performance in the next seven matches and make amends in disciplines in which we have floundered.

Mumbai Indians have secured themselves at the top and are a certainty for the semifinals. Kings' XI Punjab have not fared well and are at the bottom. Each of the other six teams has an opportunity to qualify for the remaining three semi-final berths. All these teams are carrying the burden of expectation, like Kolkata, and it is natural for a city-based competition. It is important that we make use of the home conditions. We can draw confidence from the fact that we have not lost to Deccan at Eden Gardens. An encore will definitely bring cheer to our fans and provide the momentum necessary for the team in upcoming ties.

(Professional Management Group)

Sourav Ganguly led India in 49 Tests between 2000 and 2005, winning 21