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With a completely revamped team, the Delhi Daredevils looked to start their Pepsi IPL 2014 campaign on a winning note. However, that was not to be as they suffered a heavy loss against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday. Their top order failed, there were catches being dropped and their bowlers were dealt with severely by the RCB batsmen.
Delhi Daredevils all-rounder Laxmi Ratan Shukla believes that his side had an off day on the field during that eight-wicket defeat, and he is hopeful that his team will come back stronger. “Murali Vijay, Dinesh Karthik and Manoj Tiwary had an off day on Thursday and we fell short by close to 25 runs. We did lose the first match, but we played some good cricket. I hope we come back strong.”
The Daredevils will only get stronger with the inclusion of their key player and skipper, Kevin Pietersen. The Englishman, however, is out with a finger injury, and it is still unclear whether he will be a part of the playing XI for the KKR game. “There will be a review on his injury tomorrow. He is one of the most valuable players in our team. We all want him to play and we are eager to see him play.”
Shukla also believes that his side is just a win away from striking form in the tournament. “It is a very bright chance that we get going in the tournament. It is just a matter of one good win. I hope we win against KKR tomorrow.”
The Mumbai Indians have not had the best of starts in the tournament. Their bowlers were taken apart by the sheer class of Jacques Kallis and some fearless batting by Manish Pandey, while their batsmen fell to the guile of Sunil Narine and the rest of the KKR bowlers. However, MI’s chief mentor sounded positive ahead of the team’s upcoming game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
“It is just the start of the tournament. We have had a slow start, but this is a long tournament and I am sure we will get into our strides very quickly,” Kumble said. “The boys are geared up and are really looking forward to Saturday’s game. It will be nice to win the match.”
Kumble also said that the team had identified the areas the side needed to work on after the loss in their opening game. “We need to improve on all three areas and we have spoken about it over the last couple of days. We are a good side, and it is important that we stick to what we can control and we can achieve on the field, and that is where the focus is. We are pretty confident that we will be able to put a good show tomorrow. Hopefully, we will get the right result.”
Aditya Tare and Michael Hussey opened the batting for MI against KKR. And given that Rohit Sharma has been effective for them as an opener, there were questions raised about the MI skipper possibly opening the batting. “Rohit batted at No.4 for Mumbai Indians last season when we won,” Kumble remarked. “I think Rohit understands that at this point of time, he needs to bat at No.4 where he was extremely successful for the team. We are looking at the team dynamics, rather than what an individual prefers. There is no fixed batting order in a T20 game. It is all about how you feel on that particular day and you change your order according to the situation of the game.”
Barring Zaheer Khan and Lasith Malinga, the rest of the Mumbai Indians bowlers looked ineffective. Pragyan Ojha and Harbhajan Singh were expensive and went wicketless in the game. But Kumble backed the experienced duo to come back strong come Saturday. “The two spinners that we have in our squad are two of the best spinners that we have in India. They showed what they are capable of in the last season and picked up 40 wickets between them. It is still early days in the tournament and I am sure things can only get better. Both are experienced enough and have more than 500 Test wickets, so I don’t think it is a worry.”