Catching practice was the number one priority for Maharashtra’s new coach Surendra Bhave, as his team readied themselves to face Baroda in their penultimate Group B game at the Subrata Roy Sahara stadium.
“We have to hold our catches. Through the season, our slip cordon has let chances go. It is important that we correct this particular thing right now. If we have to get something from these two games then we definitely need to start by holding on to catches,” said the 46-year-old who replaced Englishman Dermot Reeve as coach of the Maharashtra side on Thursday.
Bhave himself took the initiative of injecting enthusiasm into his charges, who have lost two games and drawn their other four, by frequently breaking out into aggressive fist pumps and lusty shouts of “come on.”
Maharashtra need all the inspiration and enthusiasm they can get. They languish at the bottom of Group B with eight points from six games. Baroda on the other hand sit pretty in second place with 21 points from their seven games and look set to advance to the quarterfinals. Baroda drew their last match against Tamil Nadu and had skipper Ambati Rayudu to thank for his battling half-centuries in both innings, which ensured that Baroda did not relinquish all their points.
Maharashtra, who lost to Delhi in the last round, will know that only an outright victory can keep their hopes of survival in group B alive. Coach Bhave said that everything went wrong in one crucial session in Delhi. “The boys dominated the game for almost two and a half days but the post-tea session on Day Three, when we lost four quick wickets, really hurt us,” he said. “A win in Delhi would have put the season back on track. But I believe that a win now would change the scenario completely.”
Baroda have lost all their star players to a combination of injury and international duty. Munaf Patel and the Pathan brothers are out injured, but have been for most of the season. But the loss of stand-in captain Ambati Rayudu, who is with the India T20 team, could be more critical. Baroda will be led by Pinal Shah and coach Sanath Kumar said that the absence of all four players would be felt. “We will definitely miss them but the guys who have come into the team have done well. The fast bowlers have