NAVI MUMBAI: Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Heather Knight on Tuesday admitted that it was tough for her side to turn things around after five straight losses at the start of the event, which ruled the Smriti Mandhana-led side out of the knock-out reckoning of the inaugural Women’s Premier League.
RCB suffered their sixth defeat out of eight matches on Tuesday against Mumbai Indians by four wickets here at the DY Patil Stadium here, finishing with just four points in the inaugural WPL.
“We did not start particularly well and sometimes in quick competitions like these it is hard to turn it around and change the momentum,” Knight told the media after RCB’s last match.
“We looked at all things closely and were able to turn things around a little bit too late and we had some momentum but last night we found out that we could not qualify. That is cricket, sometimes it does not go your way,” she added.
Knight said the team really came together against adversity and did better in the second half of the league stage.
“The first five games were really disappointing. The fact that we stuck together quite well and we were able to turn things around in the last two games knowing that we could not qualify, it was disappointing for the start of the season that we had.
“We started to build as a team, started to understand our roles a little bit more and started to execute better and gel as a team.”
Knight admitted there was very little room for RCB’s turnaround in a quick competition and there was not much time for reflection.
“Not yet, things have happened quite quickly. We did a lot of reflecting after three or four losses and when you are in such a situation you try and find a way to turn it around. We have not executed as well as we would have liked to,” she said.
While plenty of bowlers from other teams have taken wickets in double digits, RCB’s most successful bowler was the uncapped Shreyanka Patil with six wickets.
Knight said bowlers failure at the start of the tournament was one of the reasons for the team’s failure.
“The wickets were outstanding, at the start you had a very little margin of error and the fact that we did not take as many wickets as we would have liked. On pitches like that you need to take wickets and be aggressive to slow down the run rate,” she said.
“As a group you get quite high and quite low quickly – that is something I have learned in this competition and trying to stay more levelled and trying to fight hard when things do not go your way when you are playing on very good wickets with really short boundaries,” Knight added.
The incumbent England skipper backed under-fire Mandhana, the costliest player in WPL, who had a poor run with the bat, to come back stronger.
“The growth that we will see in the coming months and years (is that) it will be a really good learning for her (Mandhana). It has been really tough, the amount of pressure she has been in is really crazy,” Knight said.
“Even as England captain, the pressure she is in is so much more, the amount of people interested in seeing how she does, how she plays and how she captains is just another level over here. I know what it is like when you are the captain and not scoring runs and you are not punching your weight. “For me those periods have taught me about myself and how I want to do things, how I want to be consistent as captain. (How) you play is how you want the team to play and we will certainly see a stronger Smriti coming back. When she combines her captaincy with her batting she will be very hard to beat,” she added.
Mumbai Indians’ Nat Sciver-Brunt, meanwhile, said that quickly adapting to pitches in the knockout stage will be important.
“The wickets at the start were really good for batting, not lot of margin for bowlers but it sort of turned. The wicket last night (Monday, ) was not as bad as we were making it look to be and today was not too bad. We will see the wicket when we turn up,” she said.