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Peloton of teams eye playoffs in Tour de IPL – cricket

The 2020 IPL has turned into the Tour de France.

Followers of elite cycling will know how stages of the leading races typically unfold: a peloton of riders forms, jockeying for position. When one makes a move, another reacts and so on until the finish line comes into sight. Then, more often than not, all hell lets loose as every cyclist strains every sinew in a madcap, exhilarating dash for glory.

This perfectly describes what is now happening in the UAE.

Teams that may have assumed they were virtually assured of a place in the top four are now not so sure, glancing anxiously over their shoulder. Teams that appeared out of contention a week or so ago are finding form and starting to believe.

For hundreds of millions of television viewers in India and around the world, the spectacle could not be better because the outcome is completely unpredictable.

For those of us privileged to be playing at the heart of the action, we have one simple challenge amid all the drama, excitement and calculations: stay calm.

Stay calm and focus on your carefully prepared plans. Stay calm and execute under pressure. Stay calm as an individual and as a team. It’s easier said than done, I know, but this is the task.

At RCB, we know what needs to be done.

To realise our goal of finishing in the top two on the table, we must defeat SRH in Sharjah on Saturday and overcome DC in Abu Dhabi on Monday. SRH are charging, playing fantastic cricket, and DC are a top quality team. Nothing of value comes easy.

For our part, as a team we have played some excellent cricket in this tournament but we have been inconsistent at times both with bat and ball. Frustrating defeats against CSK and MI in our most recent two matches has obviously increased the pressure.

We have spoken about the need to extend partnerships when we are batting and when we are bowling. When two batsmen get in, they need to take advantage. If two bowlers start to contain the opposition, they need to tighten the grip.

T20 matches ebb and flow: sometimes you get on top, sometimes the opponent finds momentum and you struggle to regain control. By staying calm and focussed under pressure, however, you can usually prevail. That is our aim in this weekend of high drama.

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