“We are looking forward to putting up good performances to make it to the Playoffs, concentrating on things that we can control, and handling the little bit of pressure of these must-win games,” Royal Challengers Bangalore all-rounder Michael Bracewell said on Wednesday.
In the pre-match briefing on the eve of the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Bracewell said that the opponent would enter the field of play with a lot of freedom, having already been knocked out. A team with nothing to lose would be dangerous. “They are a quality side, with great players all around the park,” he said.
“Personally, it has been a challenge playing here on Indian pitches; different styles of bowling, enjoying training here, understanding how different balls react to the surface, learning different things, and the big grounds are a real challenge,” Bracewell said.
“I have happy memories (he scored a brilliant century in the ODI against India here in January this year). But that doesn’t guarantee a good score tomorrow. But it gives you confidence to play here,” he said.
Sunrisers fielding coach Hemang Badani, meanwhile, said the side had to play the best cricket even though it cannot make it to the Playoffs anymore.
“We have not conquered the fights in the middle and couldn’t finish quite a few games. It was just a question of playing those moments. Or else we would have been much better on the points table,” he said.
“Everyone is told what is expected of them. But, again, it all boils down to that happening. It is not something the player doesn’t want to do. There is pressure and stress; some take it very well, and some learn with time,” Badani said.
“Before the season, many pundits also said that we had a much better batting line-up this time. But cricket is not played on paper. We have to accept where we missed out,” he said.
“We still want to win, pick up as many points as possible, and send a message to the followers that we are a good side despite not having the best season,” Badani said.
On Umran Malik, the fielding coach said he got enough opportunities but was expensive and didn’t pick up enough wickets. “It becomes a necessary challenge to back just one player when others are waiting for a chance,” he added.
Badani also defended captain Aiden Markram despite the poor run. “He is the right man to lead the team. We don’t necessarily feel that someone has to be outspoken. For instance, Dhoni is a quiet leader. And if only we had three more games, this question on Markram would not have cropped up,” he said.