Delhi Daredevils lost a nail-biting contest against Kings XI Punjab just by four-run in their first home game of the Indian Premier League at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium.
Ashwin (KXIP captain): “We were discussing about what to be bowling in the 19th rather than whom to bowl because I had made up my mind to bowl Mujeeb for the final over. Because in the previous over, Sran tried the yorkers and got hit. So we were discussing about that, the length, slower balls and stuff like that. AJ (Tye) was my best bowler of the day, so bowled him early because if he got Shreyas Iyer, then that’s the game and that’s why I bowled him out early. I did believe that with the lower-order and the foreign batsmen coming in, Mujeeb would be tougher to hit. Coach literally says nothing (smiles). If we are a team that is serious about doing well in the championship and going any distance, this is the game we needed to get past. Once you defend a low score, then you can bank on anybody and everybody to go the distance. That was a clear message I gave to the boys and they responded well. They wanted to attack upfront in the first six and it actually fell into our hands because it wasn’t such a wicket where you can come and take off and lay your hands on it. I am taking it one over at a time and if you are thinking too far, your hair will go grey very soon (smiles).”
Ankit Rajpoot is the Man of the Match: “I am very happy because this is my second match for KXIP. It’s my responsibility towards the team. I thought if the captain gives me responsibility then I had to do well and pick wickets, because I wanted the side to win in a low-scoring game. My target was to bowl wicket-to-wicket. I wanted to work on the length ball and not try too much variation. I tried to get Shreyas out with the final two balls of my spell because we could have then bowled them out earlier.”
Andrew Tye, Purple Cap holder – “The pitch was slow, we summed it up early. They bowled a lot of off-cutters and it was hard to score so we followed the same plan. We bowled according to the field as batsmen these days manipulate the field pretty well. Every game in this IPL is close and today was another close match.”
Gambhir, losing captain: “(Where DD lost it) I thought in the first six overs when you lose three wickets, you let the opposition back in the game. We did score runs but also lost too many wickets. Our bowlers did really well to restrict them but we lost too many wickets in the first six and it’s always difficult when that happens. (On the positives, especially Iyer) Yes, he was brilliant and also Avesh did really well. Shaw is someone who is also for the future. (Whether DD can turn the season around) Still 8 more games to go and we can catch up. We got to win seven out of eight and need to play some really good cricket. Good part is that our bowling was really good today but our batsmen couldn’t complete the job.”