RCB eye IPL glory at home
After a month and a half of non-stop cricketing action, it all boils down to this - the grand finale of the 2016 edition of the Indian Premier League. Eight teams started their journey in pursuit of the coveted trophy and after some nervewracking moments, thrillers and evenly fought contests, it is the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad who will walk out on Sunday night at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium to clash for top honours.
Both teams have a few similarities. Both captains are amongst the runs, both have led by example and both have been one of the prime reasons for their team’s success and entry into the final. There is much hype surrounding the big day. Be rest assured to see a wave of red on Sunday night and no prices for guessing which team is going to get the loudest of cheers. Captain Kohli acknowledged the fact that the fans have had a huge role in their team’s campaign and thanked them for their relentless support come what may. “We have made it to two finals, but we couldn't cross the line. But, this one is for the fans. In a stadium where the atmosphere has always been electric, tomorrow is going to be even more special for them,” Virat said. “As cricketers, we understand that the energy that fans bring makes a massive difference in coming back from difficult situations. We have given them joy, and they have helped us pull through difficult situations. Tomorrow is a special occasion for us, but more so for the people of Bangalore who will come to watch the match.”
Sunday night won’t be special for just one team. Their opposition Sunrisers too will be playing in a final for the very first time and they would be looking to go all out eyeing the title. It is going to be an occasion of RCB’s batting against the Sunrisers’ bowling might. Virat held the opposition in high regard. “We felt SRH was one of the most balanced teams before the tournament started and that's why they have reached the final. Their bowlers have the ability to restrict a side to 150. They have a good batting line-up as well with David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan at the top who have got runs in the middle period of the tournament. Yuvraj has come really good in the last few games for them and so has Moisés Henriques who has been contributing well. It takes contributions from everyone for a team to reach the final.”
RCB have had a few days off and a couple of practice sessions after their win in the first playoff game against Gujarat Lions. The cooling off period has helped the team to regain focus for the final, believed Virat. “We've had quite a long run before the last game that we played - we have had a lot of back-to-back games. In that regard, getting a few days off was a good thing for our players to get fresh before getting back into the practice sessions.
“Sometimes you need to get back into the zone through practice sessions as a team, because you can tend to get complacent once you're in the final. So we understood the importance of the two practice sessions - the intensity was good, especially for the team to come together before a big game and actually execute the plans that we want to take in. I felt that it was a good time to prepare, and to get the right sort of momentum going into a big game like the final tomorrow. We will back our strengths . We were able to turn things around and are in the final because we did not focus much on the other teams. We had sat down and decided to back our abilities and play to our strengths irrespective of the opponents. We played with that mindset for the last 4-5 matches and that's the reason why we could change the situation for ourselves.”
Virat also said it was important for the team to maintain composure before the all important final. “One word that comes to mind is composure. It’s very similar to being in a pressure situation while you are batting or bowling. What you require is composure. On occasions like this, where it starts is in the change room. How you look at the atmosphere out there on the ground, how excited or nervous you get, whether your heart rate is shooting up before you even start warm-ups, all those things are very important for a person to understand. You just need to try and be as normal as possible about things.
“Whether you win or whether you lose, that will not stay. Just to stay away from that. Be attached yet be detached, it’s a classic example of that saying where you want to win, but at the same time you are not so attached to it that you are cursing yourself or being too hard on yourself. At the same time, if you win, you must enjoy with your teammates, you must enjoy the occasion but understand that that’s not the end of everything. The juggernaut doesn’t stop rolling there, you still have to keep working hard in any of the games you play afterwards.”