Gujarat Giants’ think-tank is looking for their batting to click into place and banking on the move to the Brabourne Stadium for the second half of the tournament to help them push towards a place in the top three of the Women’s Premier League.

After being blown away in the opener by Mumbai Indians, Giants lost a thriller against UP Warriorz. Their first win came against the struggling Royal Challengers Bangalore and after that they were once again soundly beaten by Delhi Capitals. The start, the management conceded, is not ideal.

GG will lock horns against table-toppers Mumbai Indians at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday.

Speaking ahead of the match to the media on Monday, Giants’ head coach Rachael Haynes said the team is coming together better after the disappointing opening match.

“The first match was really a big occasion for our group and perhaps for a lot of young players. They might have been overwhelmed in the beginning but they have learned from that experience and accumulation from all that will help make them better players,” she said.

“We have switched our focus quite well after our first game. Unfortunately we came up against Grace Harris in that form but bounced back well against RCB. We have seen throughout the tournament that every team will go through ups and lows, which is the nature of T20 cricket.”

With their solitary win so far coming against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Cricket Club of India, Haynes was hoping for more of that. All of Giants’ remaining four matches are at the Brabourne Stadium.

“The good news is that we are going back to the CCI Stadium where we have won. Our team matches up well to that venue. The players will take all that into confidence and play their best game. The reality is that our future is still in our hands. We have to be focused and if we can win our next games, we can also be part of the finals too,” she added.

Meanwhile, team mentor and former India Captain, Mithali Raj talked about the team’s performance so far in the tournament.

She said, “Honestly, winning one game in the first leg is clearly not the way we wanted to go. But the tournament is still wide open and we have a chance to get into the top three. We look to put our best standard going forward. Understanding that we have some injuries in the camp, we will try and make the best use of the resources we have with the games remaining.”

Mithali was asked to pick the younger talents that have caught her eye and she hoped the pace bowling department can be bolstered. “We have a lot of talented U-19 players in our squad like Shabnam, Hurley (Gala), Ashwani. It is just a matter of working on their mental strength, giving them, a platform and I am sure that in a couple of seasons, they will be ready,” the former India captain said.

Former India off-spinner Nooshin Al Khadeer, the team’s bowling coach, talked about how the camp is dealing with the players being injured and how the bowling department of the team can work on the strategy going forward.

She said, “Yes, we have had some injuries but that is part and parcel of the game. The positive news is that Sneh Rana is fit. She is absolutely raring to go. In my opinion, the pitches have been batter-friendly so far with shorter boundaries, which is a bit harsh on the bowlers. So, keeping that in mind the bowlers have done well. I would say that since the first game, the girls have come back stronger. They have understood what the plans are and we are looking to execute the same in our coming games.”

Boundary sizes a concern

With the early part of the tournament regularly witnessing 200-plus scores, Haynes had sympathy for bowlers and hoped the league reconsiders such short boundaries in the future.

“The thing that really stands out for me so far is the wickets are flat and the grounds are small. There is no margin of error for bowlers,” the Australian stalwart said.

“At this level, perhaps in seasons to come, it would be nice to see the boundaries maybe be pushed out a few meters. The nature of players at this level and what they are capable of, means that they are able to clear the boundaries easily. With the outfields being super quick as well, the ball just runs away. If mishits are going for six, that’s probably not quite right. At this level, you have to make sure the batters are hitting it clean. The poor bowlers haven’t been helped at times. Moving forward, the boundaries can be extended a little bit.”

Both Haynes and Mithali recently retired from international cricket and have taken up crucial backroom roles for the first time. And both of them said the biggest difference was letting go of the control once players stepped on to the field.

“I have learned heaps and it’s been really nice for me as the head coach,” Haynes said. “I see the game now in a different perspective. The biggest thing is to repair players and keep them confident of their abilities. Once they step over the line, they are in control. It’s been really enjoyable. As the head coach, you have to keep the players motivated. The group that I have got here, are extremely positive and it has made my job enjoyable and a bit relaxed.”

Giants have faced a few forced and unforced selection headaches so far but Haynes said that is not something that concerns her as a coach as long as they can make the decisions based on numbers.

“There are a lot of things in making the teams function and selecting the side is just one of them. I have certainly been involved in selections enough in my career, it’s not a new area for me. It’s getting people on the same page and make sure we take decisions based on data, what we are able to learn from venues and oppositions. That’s the most important thing, to justify decisions through match-ups or opponents. There are always differing opinions and it’s healthy to have that, but obviously decisions need to be made and the XI on the ground have to back them,” Haynes added.