Play Chennai in Mumbai and now.. Mumbai in Chennai
RCB go over their various learnings as they prepare to joust with the Mumbai Indians on 27th May 2011.
24th May 2011, Tuesday night’s defeat to Chennai Super Kings may yet be the best thing to happen to RCB. Remember how after the Dharamsala upset the coach and captain said it may help the team refocus. Now, imagine if RCB had defeated Chennai twice in three days. An invincible feeling may have crept in early. “Everything happens for the best,” as the philosophy goes.
Smarting over the contest, RCB were aboard two separate flights an hour apart on the evening of 25th May. Many of the senior players went by the first. Mithun, Asad Pathan, CM Gautham, Bhareth Narayan, Jonathan Vandiar, Assistant Coach Jono, Vijay Bharadwaj, Ryan Ninan and Mayank were on the second. Mithun preferred to spend time in the cologne shop and after much ‘testing’ bought two.
There was also a delay of 45 minutes and to add to it, a last minute change of boarding gates, to which nobody had particularly paid heed on the PA system. Suddenly, someone said he’d heard ‘Gate 16’ being announced whereas it was printed ‘Gate 4’ on the boarding card. Also, the departure screen just flashed ‘Now boarding’ in red but didn’t say which gate. A dumbfounded RCB team proceeded towards as per their boarding card but saw no activity at the concerned gate.
Anyway, some passengers on other flights were alert enough to warn them that the departure Gate had in fact changed. By the time the team was inside the aircraft and the flight doors closed, another 15 minutes had elapsed and finally the aircraft started around 7:40 pm on its 2 hour flight to the southern megapolis of Chennai.
Come Chennai and now there was a room shortage, not for the players, but for two of the support staff members. After all, two teams were already being accommodated and more rooms for the third, Mumbai Indians, were booked. However, the team hotel had made backup arrangements and the staff was escorted to a hotel just down the road.
The feeling now in Chennai is of trepidation. Three teams. Each having tasted success against the other in the IPLs, except of course that RCB would be doubly ready to correct their record against the Mumbai Indians. So, far these two teams had played only one match in this tournament, at home; the curtailed format meant that RCB would not play the Tendulkar-led side in an away league game. Although of course, they had played at their venue two days ago but against CSK in the first qualifier.
What other takeaways? Well RCB had made it to the Champions League already! But wait, there’s more. Rain may be on the cards for both the matches of the 27th against Mumbai Indians and the 28th, the final, of course against Chennai. In which case, RCB ‘win’ the former and if the final too is rained out, then again the ‘win’ is credited to RCB! All because of topping the table. Of course, everybody would be hoping for a more positive finish.
At practice at the Chidambaram stadium on 26th evening, the eve of the eliminator between RCB and Mumbai Indians, one group of the Bengaluru team practiced fielding drills. Elsewhere, in the nets outside the main stadium, Luke Pomersbach, Mohammed Kaif and Virat Kohli had extended batting sessions. The boys looked ready to go.