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Topping the points table last year, the Delhi Daredevils have come a cropper in IPL 2013, languishing in the bottom two. With three games to go in this tournament and no chance to qualify for the Playoffs, the team aims to finish the tournament on a high, according to Ashish Nehra, on the eve of their big game against the Chennai Super Kings.
“This has not been a good season for us but we have three games left now and we will look to finish well and try to win all those games,” Nehra said.
“It’s difficult to maintain consistency season after season in the IPL. Only Chennai Super Kings have been able to do that because they have had more or less the same team since the first season. We have a very good team this season but were held back with too many injuries. It has been a difficult season but in the T20 format you have to take it in your stride,” Nehra said, citing the absence of Kevin Pietersen and Jesse Ryder as big blows.
“We had many injuries up front this year and missed people like Kevin Pietersen and Jesse Ryder. Virender Sehwag came back from injury and so did Umesh Yadav, myself and Irfan Pathan. It was tough and we lost our first six games in a row. After that we won three. If we had won a couple of games early on, we would have stood a chance,” he said
The Daredevils bought Nehra from Pune Warriors India in exchange of Ross Taylor ahead of the current IPL season. While nine wickets from eight matches at the rate of 8.6 runs per over would say otherwise, Nehra believes he has bowled well in the tournament so far.
“I won’t say I am unhappy with my performance. I generally bowl in the first six and the last four overs of the innings. In the first few games I was a bit rusty coming back from a knee surgery but day by day I did improve. In India all the focus is on stats but personally I am very happy with the way I am bowling. Hopefully I can get better in the last three games,” he said.
As the senior-most Indian pacer in the Daredevils squad, Nehra had particularly high words of praise for Umesh Yadav. “If you ask me, Umesh Yadav is the most talented bowler in India. If he does well, I’m sure India will do well in Test cricket for the next few years,” he said.
Pleased with Irfan Pathan’s selection in India’s squad for the Champions Trophy, Nehra said he still had time to improve on his bowling and batting until the tournament begins.
“In the Champions Trophy in England, his batting can come in handy and that’s what I think the selectors have taken into account. He has been doing well in both batting and bowling but I still feel he can get better in the three-four weeks that we still have for the Champions Trophy to start,” he said.
KXIP coach says getting early breakthroughs against RCB vital
By Harsh Kalan
Bengaluru 13 May 2013
With 10 points from 13 games,King XI Punjab have a tough road ahead of them as far as Playoffs qualification is concerned. The Adam Gilchrist-led side has shown flashes of brilliance, but has mostly fallen desperately short of obtaining favourable results in IPL 2013.
With three more games to go in their regular season, KXIP will have to play out of their skins and also hope for results of some other contests to go their way. Coach Darren Lehmann spoke about how his team needs to pull up their socks during the business end of the tournament.
“Every game is a must-win. So we have just got to perform better than we have in the last couple of games,” said Lehmann while talking to the media ahead of their game against theRoyal Challengers Bangalore. “The other night (against Sunrisers Hyderabad) we were 20 percent short of where we wanted to be; we missed some chances in the field. I think Hyderabad probably should have made only 120-130. So we can’t worry about anything else other than getting better each time we play.”
While KXIP overcame RCB last week, on the back of a memorable century by David Miller in Mohali, Lehmann acknowledged the fact that the Virat Kohli-led side is a formidable unit in home conditions.
“Obviously, they have got some dangerous players. We will have to bowl really well and hold our chances in the field,” said Lehmann as he sized up the likes of Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Kohli. “This year, if we had caught everything coming our way, we would have won a couple of extra games. If we can do that and get Gayle early, that would be ideal.”
Meanwhile, the KXIP coach is hoping that should his side bat first, his team’s batters ought to exploit the conditions and put up a big total on a wicket that is known for high-scoring matches. However, he stressed on how getting early breakthroughs would stand his side in good stead against a team like RCB.
“It’s a challenge for us to play a side that plays well at home. So, it’s a good contest for us with quality players and a chance for us to get better as a side,” Lehmann said.