Mumbai: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) director of cricket operations Mike Hesson has said that he doesn’t sweat too much over matchups, adding that there were several players in his side “who haven’t quite hit their straps yet” and who could be used towards the business end of the tournament.
RCB will take on Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in a crucial game at the DY Patil Stadium later on Tuesday, with a chance for the winner to go top of the IPL table. The two teams are currently bunched with Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad on eight points, with only the Net Run Rate (NRR) separating them on the points table.
In fact a close look at the two competing sides on Tuesday shows that they are closely matched in all departments of the game, and Hesson conceded the two had “similar balance”.
“Yeah, very similar balance in terms of the way we structure up and we look to use our bowlers. Obviously, we both bat relatively deep in the order; it’s something that both teams looked at at the auction. Both well-balanced sides with some quality up top and power through the middle,” said Hesson.
Hesson added that though both teams were like mirror images of each other in terms of strengths and weaknesses, it won’t translate into added advantage or disadvantage for any side.
“I don’t think it makes a huge difference to be honest because we pretty much focus on what we do from a batting perspective. Sure, there’s a matter of matchups but, we don’t get too caught up in those, making sure we don’t have two left-handers against an offie, and with the short side, making sure that we always have an opportunity to access the short side. That’s probably more important than the matchup.
“From a bowling point of view, I think we match up pretty well against them. You know our top order like pace on the ball, they’ve got plenty of pace up front. They’ve got some quality spinners, very crafty spinners in the likes of Krunal (Pandya), and obviously, (Ravi) Bishnoi is quite a unique character. There’s a bit of work gone into how we’re gonna combat that,” opined Hesson.
With four teams bunched up on eight points as the tournament approaches the halfway mark, Hesson said his players were constantly trying to improve, victory or defeat notwithstanding, adding that it’s important to play your best cricket towards the back end of the tournament.
“We are continuing to try and improve, and that’s the constant message that we’re sending everybody. Whether we win, whether we lose, we review with a bit of detail, and we’re trying to get better. The reality is you have to be playing your best cricket towards the back end of the tournament. Not only to progress, but if you do progress, you have to be playing some good cricket too. We’re pretty methodical in terms of that.
“We still have players who haven’t quite hit their straps yet, who are training really hard, hitting the ball nicely, ball starting to come out nicely for the likes of (Mohd) Siraj. We’re just sort of focused on us,” he said.