We threw it away against Bangalore
There are still three rounds to go and, with Mumbai Indians having sailed through to the last four, three places are still up for grabs. I strongly believe it will go down to the wire and if we want to see ourselves up there we need to get on to a winning streak and be consistent in every aspect of the game.
First, we need to pick ourselves up and do the basics right after the heart-breaking experience in Bangalore. The situation was picture perfect till the tenth over. Had I won the toss I would have opted to bat, as the wicket seemed dry and was bound to slow down. So it was indeed a welcome situation when Anil Kumble won the toss and asked us to have a go.
We got to the 100-run mark as early as the 11th over, having lost one wicket. From such a position, any team would look forward to something in excess of 180 but we threw away the opportunity. In the Twenty20 format you definitely need to throw the bat around but judging the course of the game. The way our batsmen threw their bats around it seemed there was no tomorrow! One can talk and analyse the situation for you, but the implementation is the most important thing.
When it came to defending our runs we started well by removing the in-form Jacques Kallis and needed a few wickets up front to put pressure on the Bangalore batting. Ashok Dinda once again bowled beautifully with the new ball but we couldn't sustain the pressure at the other end. There is a saying in cricket that catches win matches, but we let a few slip and that didn't help our cause. In this format, once the asking rate goes past nine, which did happen at times, there will be balls flying in the air and that is when we need to hold our catches.
We need to emerge at the earliest from the shadows of the last game. Chennai Super Kings have lost the last match, as we have, and whichever team re-groups first will call the shots in this game.
Our starts while batting of late have been good and that has to be maintained. We need people who will put up their hands to be counted in the current scenario. Talent is necessary but what counts more is the will to deliver, the will to stand up and play for one's pride, especially when the chips are down. It is sport and not war but even in sport, too, you need to be alert every day. There will be bad days but it's how you wake up to them that will determine how far one will go.
The time has come for us to stand up as a unit, not just rely on few individuals to deliver. If that happens, we can still look forward to the last phase of the group league.
(Professional Management Group)
Sourav Ganguly led India in 49 Tests between 2000 and 2005, winning 21