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Mumbai: May 7, 2014
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) coach Daniel Vettori was pained to see the ugly on-field spat between RCB bowler Mitchell Starc and Mumbai Indians’ batsman Kieron Pollard in the Indian premier League (IPL) but preferred to wait for the match referee’s verdict before apportioning blame.
“I haven’t had a chance to talk to Mitchell or anyone else involved. It’s obviously something we don’t want to see on the cricket field. But we will wait for match referee (Andy Pycroft) to make his ruling,” Vettori said after the match here last night. “I am sure the match referee would be involved. Let’s wait and see what he says before we speculate. I think we should sit tight and not judge the incident,” he added.
The incident referred to was the hurling of the cricket bat by West Indies all-rounder Pollard at Australian left-arm pacer Starc after the latter delivered the ball to him despite the batsman having backed off from the crease.
It was an ugly incident as Pollard had advanced menacingly at Starc before throwing his bat which, luckily, hit the turf well away from the bowler. Both players had to be separated by umpires S Ravi and K Srinath and they had a talk with RCB captain Virat Kohli too while RCB’s West Indian player Chris Gayle pacified Pollard.
Strangely IPL organisers gagged the media from asking MI wicket-keeper batsman C M Gautam about the incident with the media manager issuing a diktat before the start of his interaction. Vettori blamed the fall of crucial wickets when asked about RCB’s failure to chase the stiff target of 187 set by MI and falling short by 19 runs despite a rollicking start given by Gayle and Parthiv Patel.
“It was a tough total to chase in a T20 Game is hard. The start we got was fantastic, Chris and Parthiv set the tone with 44 in 21 balls and Virat picked it up as well. Thereafter we lost crucial wickets which put us under pressure,” he said. Both Gayle, who made a quick-fire 38 in 24 balls with three sixes and as many fours, and Patel (26 off 19 balls with five fours) departed in similar fashion, by trying to hoist off-spinner Harbhajan Singh over the mid-wicket region, but Vettori refused to blame them for the poor shots.
“They had played that shot already a couple of times before. It’s something they are comfortable with. We should say (to Harbhajan) very well bowled. It was brave to bowl a slower ball against Chris who was playing very well. It was one of the key moments of the game,” said the former Kiwi all-rounder.
Vettori felt that his bowlers and fielders erred in giving away 25 extras when MI batted first and set the imposing target in their fortress where they had been undefeated in nine previous games going back to last season. “I thought par score was 175-180. It was a tough total to chase and the bowling side bowled exceptionally well. We did ourselves in too. The extras contributed a lot [towards our defeat]. There were far too many which made the difference between the two teams at the end of the day.
He refused to blame any individual batsman or bowler for the four losses out of seven games that RCB have tasted when asked about Gayle’s indifferent form. Vettori also felt that his top batsmen would run into form in the latter half of the tournament. “We have played seven games and he played in three of them (he missed the first four because of a back problem).
He’s slowly getting there,” said Vettori about Gayle’s scores of 20, 27 and 38 this season. “We have some exceptional batsmen and they need to fire (together). We are hoping all our batsmen come into form at the back end of the tournament and if they do that we will gain momentum going into the semifinals. I am confident all our batsmen will be in form shortly. At the moment we are losing crucial wickets,” he added.
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