The coach of Delhi Daredevils Ricky Ponting praised the batting of Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer, and has also said that inconsistent performances from the rest has costed the team.
Cricket news: If not for our inconsistency, we could have been a potential threat for the other teams, says Ponting
Daredevils got back-to-back wins against Chennai and Mumbai and knocked out the defending champions Mumbai Indians out of the tournament with an 11-run win on Sunday.
Ponting praised the Indian players for their performances. He said, “We can’t blame the Indian players, they have been outstanding, we can’t complain. Prithvi Shaw, Sandeep are some of the talented players we have and I hope they will have a long and successful IPL career here with us.”
The team’s wicketkeeper and star batsman, Rishabh Pant, scored 684 runs form 14 matches which consists of five half-centuries and a century. Pant is currently the holder of the orange cap, as he is the leading run-scorer in the league.
“It’s been an outstanding season for him (Pant). Obviously he is wearing the orange cap right now and it would be great if he can manage to retain the orange cap by the end of season.
“It is great personal recognition for his season but if we had an even contribution from a few more of the top order we could have been a threat.
“Shreyas Iyer had a very good season but there was not enough consistency for our batting group to be up there with the leading teams,” Ponting said.
The captaincy of the team changed hands from Gautam Gambhir to Shreyas Iyer, when the former decided to step down from the helm.
When asked about the effect of the decision on the team, Ponting said, “Gautam’s stepping down didn’t have any negative impact on our team. It probably came as a shock to the players and me. It was a courageous decision, you don’t see such a decision every day.
“It gave opportunity to Prithvi Shaw to play and Shreyas stepping up for the captaincy. It was a daunting thing to do to captain and I think he handled the challenge well. He is a tremendous young guy and I won’t be surprised if I see more leadership role for him in future.”
When asked about Glenn Maxwell’s disastrous IPL season, the former Australian skipper said, “I wish I knew. I have spent a long time with Glenn over the years. A few weeks before this tournament, I did a lot of work with him, I spent time with him at the Australian team. He was man of the series there and was in good form.
“I think the thing that held him was the wish to play well. He missed the first game due to Aaron Finch’s wedding. When he came back into the side, he was batting at number 5, he didn’t play all that much in that position and he was frustrated that he didn’t have an impact on the result for his team.”
Maxwell had a wonderful T20 tri-series against New Zealand and England where he had scores of 40 not out, 103 not out, 39, 31 and 20 not out.
“He is outstanding but he had a disappointing IPL this season. We did stick with him because every game for us, even though we didn’t qualify, we were taking as a final and we wanted to put the team on a path that would give us best chance of winning and if you analyse the overseas batsmen Glenn Maxwell was going to be the best chance of a match winner for us.
“Even tonight, opening the batting for us and we knew he would have to bowl a few overs also. So we persisted with him,” said Ponting.
The bottom-placed Delhi set a target of 175 for Mumbai to achieve and qualify for the playoffs. All-rounder Ben Cutting feels that they should have easily chased down the target.
“Target was more or less achievable. What I have seen is the variation of scores on this ground. The way we started with the bat was perfect, it’s just that we lost our way in the middle. That score was close to the par or may five runs too many,” he said.
“As a batsman it shouldn’t come down to batsmen 9, 10 or 11 it shouldn’t. We had similar problems in the past. We lost 4/30 through the middle of the match. We got close but it dragged us down at the end of the day.”
Cutting also added his views that in the future he hopes to find pitches in IPL which are friendlier towards the bowlers.
“I would love to see pitches favouring bowlers more. I would love to see two bouncers coming over. IPL as a whole has been good, it’s been fresh auctions I think. We see how the points table come down to today’s game to decide the final four, that’s what you want from a tournament like this.”