Rising Pune Supergiant had run through their final checklist in the practice session. All systems were go. Captain Steve Smith and head coach Stephen Fleming even had the time to get refreshed and arrive for the media conference at the team hotel. Those luxuries are only accorded to the winner of the first qualifier. Rohit Sharma and Mahela Jayawardene, on the other hand, made the dash from Bengaluru to Hyderabad and soon after showed up for the press conference. So their weariness was understandable.
“It’s true we haven’t played well against Pune,” Rohit said. “They have been playing some really good cricket and it’s just that we haven’t been playing too well on those days. That’s the reason we lost those games. Tomorrow we’ve got to make sure we’re better and we play good cricket and focus on what we need to do. If all those things are looked after results will take care of themselves.
“Now we’re playing them in a neutral venue now. Conditions will be different for both teams. The aim is to avoid whatever mistakes we have done in the past against them. We can learn from the mistakes. Hopefully we’ve learnt it and not repeat again tomorrow,” he added.
Playing an IPL final can stir various emotions, particularly for the young Indian players unfamiliar with the big stage. The moment can spur certain individuals while others could succumb under the pressure. That’s where the support staff, headed by the vastly experienced Mahela Jayawardene offer their reassuring presence.