The Only Game This Season We’ve Been Outplayed in: Ponting
Ricky Ponting, who is the head coach of Delhi Capitals, has highlighted Qualifier 2 as the only match in the IPL 2021 that his team was outplayed in. He pinpointed the two powerplays as the conditions where things had taken a dramatic change.
Delhi Capitals could only manage to score 38/1 in the powerplay, whereas Kolkata Knight Riders collected 51/10 in the initial six overs. This gave the team an important head start to score a target of 136 runs.
After the three-wicket loss of DC in Sharjah, the coach said that the second qualifier game had been the only match in the entire tournament that he felt the team had been outplayed in. He further added that Delhi had not batted enough to acquire enough runs in the powerplay. The team lost important wickets too early into the game. If it weren’t for the performances of Shreyas and Hetmyer in the end, Delhi Capitals would not have been able to score even around 130. Pointing added that it was disappointing to have come far in the game and lose like this.
He said that the conditions had changed significantly from the first innings to the second innings. In the initial ten overs, Kolkata Knight Riders had a kind of new ball. With the dew on the field, batting seemed easier than what it actually was for the team. However, it was more of a reason why they had to push harder to score a run in the first innings.
The focus was not to defend the team; instead, it was to score as much as possible. Ricky Ponting also applauded the strong stand that KKR had taken. He said that the team had done a great job and had excellent players like Venkatesh Iyer in the team. Pointing said that he was someone who could be a great player for the franchise and even for India in the future.
Furthermore, he also explained the decision to send Marcus Stoinis at number 3. After recovering from an injury on the sidelines, Marcus merely managed to score 18 runs off 23 balls. He found it difficult to score runs against the spinner on the low pitch.
When asked if sending Marcus at number three backfired, Ponting said that he did not think so. The team had given a hard thought about where the player would be the best fit to bat in the match. He missed around three weeks of the IPL 2021 due to his hamstring injury and had not played any cricket. The franchise wanted a player of his calibre in the team as he could bat efficiently at the top of the order. Moreover, he could also bat down if the team required.
However, with the kind of pitch that the team played in, it was challenging for any new batters to get a solid start. Even a player like Shikhar, with experience in playing top order, failed to manage what they had hoped for. Additionally, middle-order Indian players also struggle to hold their form on the field. He added that although the decision had been right, the team had not got the desired outcome.
Another question that Pointing addressed was why Anrich Nortje had only bowled one over in the initial ten overs. The coach explained that the team had wanted Nortje through the middle overs. They suspected that some of the KKR batsmen who played in the middle order found it challenging to stand against fast bowling. Therefore, they decided to keep him through the middle and one at the end. So overall, the franchise had been tactical. Pointing added that Rishabh had done a fantastic job. Even though the team did not get enough runs, they did their best to make their way into the game and win in the last two overs.
He believed that the captain had been looking for different options to obtain a wicket in the powerplay. Moreover, Delhi wanted to use a few overs of spin in the powerplay before the dew made the ball wet. It would make it challenging for the spinners to hang on for long. Not allowing the batter to settle for one kind of bowler was a helpful technique.
Having said that, in the last season of the Indian Premier League prior to the mega auction, the coach wanted to retrieve as many players as possible for DC. The franchise has seen a consistently good performance with the current group of players.
He said that he would like to keep all the current players. The coaches and the playing staff have done an excellent job for the last few seasons. Pointing said the kind of performance Delhi Capitals had been showing spoke for the hard work they had been doing. Although he is disappointed at the way the season has ended for the team, he is certain that the franchise will be able to retain at least three players. There will be a lot of players who will be seen in the auction next year, but the coach will try to bring as many players back into the DC as possible.
He concluded by saying that the last three seasons had been enjoyable for the team. The current playing group has done a great job, and it will be his goal to bring them all back together.
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