Zaheer Khan, the Delhi Daredevils captain, said on Wednesday (April 19) that his final over in the team’s 15-run loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League 2017 would “haunt him”.
Hyderabad put up 191 for 4 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal, with Delhi restricted to 176 for 5, and Zaheer, who had bowled the last over in the first innings, gave up 17 runs to spoil what had been a good show until then and finish with none for 37 in four overs.
“It was small margins. I felt 180 would have been ideal to chase, but the last over I bowled is going to haunt me a bit,” rued Zaheer after the match. “Unfortunate to not finish on the winning side, but I’m happy with the way the team is shaping up.
“On the whole the morale of the team is good, we have been losing by very close margins. We just need to get on a winning roll because momentum is crucial in this tournament, and we hope we have one roll left in us.”
Delhi have two wins in five matches so far in the tournament. But having won handsomely and lost narrowly, their net run-rate is still on a healthy +1.157. Some of their tactics have come in for questioning though, with the batting order drawing particular scrutiny.
In the match against Hyderabad, Chris Morris – who has the best strike-rate of any Delhi batsman by far this IPL – didn’t get to face a single delivery, with Angelo Mathews sent ahead of him. This was the second time Delhi had sent Mathews above Morris, having done so in the last-over loss to Kolkata Knight Riders also.
When questioned about the batting order, Shreyas Iyer, who acquitted himself well in the chase hitting 50 not out off 31, professed ignorance. “Well see it’s not my decision, I was batting out there. It’s the team management’s decision so I wouldn’t like to say anything about this,” said Iyer.
Another point of debate has been Rishabh Pant’s batting position, with the talented and in-form dasher having batted at No.5 or below so far. In this match though, he was pushed to No.4 but fell first-ball, holing out off Yuvraj Singh.
“It depends on the bowlers,” felt Iyer. “When Yuvraj came in, a left-hander would be an ideal player to send in, so keeping that in mind I think the management took the decision to send Rishabh Pant in.”
Iyer said that good bowling by the Hyderabad attack made the difference in the end, with Delhi unable to kick on at the death. “Nothing went wrong, they bowled really well,” he said. “We got a good start, and if you compare with their score, our start was really good. But in between, we lost a few wickets. If we could have built on from there onwards maybe the scenario would have been different.
“And also, this was a wicket where we could have restricted them to 180, but this is part of the game.”
Zaheer too, was full of praise for the Hyderabad bowlers, singling out Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the tournament’s leading wicket-taker, for particular praise. “Bhuvi was just fantastic. The lengths he is bowling, the rhythm he is in is ideal.”