Ponting warns MI on eve of IPL final, says DC’s best still to come

Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting has warned Mumbai Indians not to take his side lightly in Tuesday’s IPL final, saying its best is still to come.

Shreyas Iyer and Ricky Ponting during a practice session.   -  BCCI/Sportzpics

Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting has warned Mumbai Indians not to take his side lightly in Tuesday’s IPL final, saying its best is still to come.

Going into the summit clash, four-time champion MI has the psychological advantage over DC, who will appear in its maiden final.

Besides, MI steamrolled DC in its previous three meetings during the season, winning the first leg by five wickets, return leg by nine wickets and the first qualifier by 57 runs.

“Looking back now we are happy, it’s been a good season but we are here to win the IPL and we will give it our best shot,” Ponting said on Monday.

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“We got off to a good start but were a bit shaky towards the end but the boys have managed to really play two very good games out of three, and hopefully, we can play our best game in the final.

“Didn’t matter that we lost games. Each team won a couple, lost a couple but all of our losses came in a group and it was hard to change the momentum, but the boys did it and we find ourselves in the final and I think our best cricket is yet to come.”

The former Australia captain, who has featured in many big finals during his glorious career as a player, said the way DC played it deserves to be in the title clash this season.

“It’s not an easy thing to make it to the IPL final. There are a lot of guys who never made one. Thankfully, I have coached one before and I was a part of another team as captain, so I know what it’s like to be,” he said.

“Probably, the most important thing in big games like this is not to try hard, it’s just another game.

“We need to enjoy that, try to embrace the extra nerves that come with the final. All we have is given ourselves the right to play in the final, and now got to go and win that final.”

Ponting said DC has the firepower to dash MI’s hopes of a fifth IPL title.

“Things will be pretty much the same. We have got enough firepower. If Mumbai would be sitting back and thinking if there is a team they wouldn’t like to play, it is us. It’s about us, how we turn up and play,” he said.

“We have been long away from the best we have played against Mumbai so far. We will try and address some of the areas that we haven’t played against Mumbai in the past -- Powerplay batting, death bowling are some.

“So if we rectify those things and play somewhere near our best, then we can...”

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Ponting reserved special praise for Marcus Stoinis and the in-form Shikhar Dhawan.

“Marcus has been dying for opportunity to bat further up the order but our team balance didn’t allow it in the first part of the tournament. With Prithvi and Jinx (Ajinkya Rahane) both being there, it was difficult to give Stoinis opportunity up the order,” he said.

“But every time he got the opportunity he played really well. He is a vastly improved player than what he was 12 months ago. He was craving for that opportunity.

“Shikhar is probably having his best season and that’s really very good signs for us. We still didn’t have got the best out of Rishabh, so if he happens to fire in the final and then we are capable of making a really big score,” he added.

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