Middle overs cost us the game, says Delhi's Amre

The Delhi Capitals batting coach admits his team’s struggle with the bat in the middle period of its innings significantly contributed to its defeat against Mumbai Indians.

Shreyas Iyer

Delhi Capitals' Shreyas Iyer looks back to see his stumps rattled by Rahul Chahar.   -  Sandeep Saxena

A chase of 169 on a tricky pitch at the Ferozeshah Kotla may have been daunting for Delhi Capitals, but the start provided by its openers – Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw – gave it hope.

Forty-nine runs were collected in the powerplay, before the rot began. In the period between the fall of the first wicket of Dhawan and the fifth of Rishabh Pant, Capitals could only score 27 runs in 7.2 overs.

Read: Chahar, Pandya brothers set up Mumbai's dominant win

The contest was virtually done and dusted and only formalities were left. Capitals was struggling on 76/ 5 and couldn’t find a way back and eventually lost the match by 40 runs.

Reflecting on the innings, Praveen Amre, Delhi Capitals’ batting coach, said, “If you see the last two games as well, we [didn’t do] very well in the powerplay. The positive in this game was we did very well till that point. We were 49 for no loss in this particular game. I think it was those middle overs that cost us; I think that’s the area we have to work on, to be honest.

"Those middle overs, if we can play well, those spinners’ overs, that will be very important because if you see in this particular game, 10 overs for 52 and we lost four wickets in the middle overs.”

Chahar, the leg-spinner, was the chief wicket-taker in this period. He dismissed the openers and Shreyas Iyer, the opposition captain and the No. 4.

Also read: Hardik worked on his game during his time away, says Krunal

“[Chahar was] outstanding. The three wickets [he took] were very important. He bowled in the powerplay also. So that gave [Mumbai Indians] that extra cushion so that they can use their experienced bowlers later on. Exactly that was what happened. He controlled the game. Shikhar’s wicket was the prize wicket he got,” Praveen said.

The contest was one dominated by spinners due to the nature of the pitch. There was sharp turn, and there was also variable bounce. Praveen, however, didn’t think fielding only two specialist spinners was a mistake. In comparison, Mumbai Indians had three specialist spinners for this contest.

Rahul Chahar

Rahul Chahar spun a web around the Delhi batsmen.   -  AP

Praveen said, “We wanted to have consistency with this team also. Like Ishant [Sharma], who is doing our job in the first six overs – in this match, too, three overs in the PowerPlay, he’s giving us those. We just wanted to go in with the same team combination. The last four overs [in the Mumbai Indians’ innings] mattered, basically. Even if we have conceded 15 runs fewer, it would have given us a chance.”

Moreover, one of the spinners didn’t even bowl his full quota of overs. Amit Mishra, the leg-spinner, bowled only three overs. Justifying the decision not to have Mishra bowl his final over, Praveen said, “[That was maybe because] Krunal Pandya was batting left-handed, maybe that's the reason at that particular moment [we chose not to bowl Amit Mishra out]. [Kagiso]Rabada and [Chris] Morris are also wicket-taking bowlers. We thought if we get the wicket, I think we can [slow down] the run-rate. We know Krunal and Hardik [Pandya], off spinners [can be aggressive]. If a foreign player had been batting, Mishra would have been bowled. The left-right batting combination was also a [consideration].”

IPL 2019: Full coverage

The finishing touches with the bat provided by the Pandya brothers in the business end of the innings also hurt Capitals, Praveen pointed out. He said, “We have to give credit to Mumbai Indians. In the last four overs, they got 58 runs. Hardik Pandya’s innings was very crucial — 15 balls, 32 runs. I think that really got the runs on the board. We really felt like this is a 150-pitch (sic).

"That extra cushion they got — 18 to 19 runs — made the difference. [It meant] the pressure came [on us] because after 10 overs, we were chasing 10 runs per over (sic). It was not an easy task because we know the Kotla wicket. We have to improve our game. That’s the important thing.”

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