Ricky Ponting: Shot selection let us down

To post 129 in 20 overs is “not acceptable,” says the Delhi Capitals head coach after the loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Thursday.

Delhi Capitals advisor Sourav Ganguly, head coach Ricky Ponting and assistant coach Mohammad Kaif at a training session.   -  SANDEEP SAXENA

 

Although the pitch at the Feroz Shah Kotla was difficult to play strokes on, Delhi Capitals’ batting performance was not up to the mark, according to head coach Ricky Ponting.

Capitals huffed and puffed its way to 129, many of its batsmen struggling to time the ball. There were plenty of slower deliveries to negotiate and many seemed to be bamboozled by them, especially the knuckle ball by Sandeep Sharma, the right-arm seamer. Important top-order batsmen – Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant – perished in attempting a bellicose stroke.

Highlighting the lacklustre performance by the batting line-up, Ponting said, “No doubt, [shot selection let us down]. Right from the start; I don’t think Prithvi played a great shot, considering how low the ball was bouncing. To try to hit across the line early on wasn’t a great shot. Some of our senior players probably didn’t bat long enough into the innings as well, to let us post a total that was going to be defendable. I mean, 130 was sort of short of what we were expecting. Even on a slow wicket, we expected our batting group to be able to get 160-165 on any surface when we bat first, and obviously, today we came a long way short. We need to talk about that. We need to find a way to get better there.”

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The batting performance, Ponting declared, was not acceptable to him. “As a coach, I can’t accept a performance like that tonight. For a batting group as good as ours, to be able to get a 129, that’s not acceptable as far as I’m concerned as a coach. Our players have to accept that and we’ve got to find ways to get better next time,” he said.

Ponting confessed the behaviour of the pitch was a surprise to the team. He said: “I think it’s fair to say that that wicket surprised us a lot. Talking to the groundsman before that game, he expected it to be the best pitch out of the three wickets so far. Far and away, it was the worst. You saw how little it bounced and how slow it was. I thought their bowlers adapted to the conditions really well.”

However, Ponting reserved a word of praise for his bowlers for keeping the contest alive till the 19th over of the chase. “I can’t blame the performance of the bowlers today. We simply didn’t get enough runs batting first. To be honest, I thought we did a really good job to drag the game out as much as we did. I thought the fightback, pretty much from the end of the PowerPlay till the end of the game was the way I expect our team to play. If we can take any positives from it, it will have to be the last 14 or 15 overs of our bowling innings,” he said.