Royal Challengers Bangalore were the team to beat in the initial stages of the IPL, but their campaign has slowed down with defeats in three of their last four matches. Ray Jennings, their coach, acknowledged that the conservative mindset of the top order hampered their momentum, but insisted they would continue to balance defence with attack.
"I think against Chennai Super Kings, the problem was that when we lost [Jacques] Kallis and [Virat] Kohli, we lost two wickets in 15 balls and just made three runs. I think that made the difference," Jennings was quoted as saying by Deccan Herald. "We were a little bit conservative against the Delhi side. The top order has planned the innings very well over the season - to not be over-powerful in the first six overs and not too conservative as well, it's all about striking a happy medium.
"That's why guys like Kallis and Robin Uthappa need to bat up the order and plan the innings properly. I need to trust those guys to do the job for us," Jennings said.
Bangalore had a winning combination for the first leg of the tournament, before the arrival of Ross Taylor, Kevin Pietersen and Cameron White made them tinker with the line-up. Jennings denied that the team management faced difficulties in selecting the eleven. "You might think that the permutations are confusing but I have a clear idea about them. When these combinations work on the field, it can look nice, but when it does, you look like an idiot. Drawing up permutations is an easy job, but the hard part is to maintain the right energy level in the player assigned to do the job," he said.
Jennings noted the importance of properly defining roles in a line-up filled with different types of players. "We have 120 balls to play and the role of each cricketer has to be defined according to the situation. With players like Kevin Pietersen and Ross [Taylor] coming in, the role of each batsman has to be defined. Sometimes it's easier for an allrounder or a young Indian player to hit the ball around, and at that time the roles could be changed," Jennings said.
Jennings acknowledged the impact of the senior players in keeping the team spirit up. "We have seven or eight international captains with us and we have three legends in our ranks - Kumble, Dravid and Kallis - and not many sides have got those kind of players together. They are in the background of keeping the team together and helping me exectute the strategies with honesty and peace, making sure that we make an impact."
Bangalore's next match is against the Deccan Chargers who are going through a slump, with five successive defeats, but Jennings was not taking them lightly. "There is no good time to play any side. Tomorrow, if [Adam] Gilchrist gets a hundred then we can struggle, so we need to come to the field with the best preparations. I don't look at yesterday's match as tomorrow we need to play a fresh game," he said.