Zaheer: ‘Simmons, Pollard took the game away from us’

Delhi Daredevils captain Zaheer Khan expressed helplessness when batsmen such as Lendl Simmons and Kieron Pollard get going as the two West Indians scripted the home team’s fall with stupendous batting tonight.

“It’s tough to restrict a team in this sort of wicket and once the target is over 200, you have to go after it. Last game, you saw our fearlessness. We went after the bowling today as well, but couldn’t keep up."   -  Sportzpics

It isn't easy walking up to answer questions after a record 146-run drubbing – in a T20 game – but when the person doing the answering is Zaheer Khan, results seemingly cease to matter. With his omnipresent smile firmly in place, Khan continued to insist his team could “still make the playoffs” and that he was “very happy with the way the team executed its plans on the field”.

MI crushes DD for record win

He also defended the team composition, asserted he would probably go with the same team all over again, claimed that the team's “approach to the chase was perfectly fine” but it was just “one of those days we couldn't get going”.

“In hindsight maybe you can think of doing some things differently but the game has to be played on the field. As for today's game, the way we executed our plans on field, I am very happy with that...We thought we could get these runs. As a batting unit we had to put up a show,” Khan said after the game.

While mathematically DD still has a chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012, practical details are a little more complex. “Nine days back nobody was giving us a chance, today we are talking about play-offs. Surely it's going to go down to the wire. We need to stay positive and play fearless cricket, the mindset is critical,” Khan declared.

"We still have a chance. We need to win. You can always talk about the points table but the first thing is that we need to win. We need to regroup as quickly as possible, we got a three day break coming up, that will help us regroup and come back stronger," said Zaheer after his team was bowled out for 66, their lowest total this season.

Meanwhile Lendl Simmons, who alongwith Keiron Pollard took the match away from DD, admitted it was frustrating to stay on the sidelines and was looking to get some runs under his belt ahead of the playoffs in his first IPL game this season.

“I wouldn't say pressure (to score) but it was frustrating not to play. I was just preparing to be ready whenever the opportunity comes, keeping myself fit in the gym and practising in the nets. Yeah for myself I needed to get a bit of score to my name ahead of going into the playoffs, so it would be good for my confidence,” the Trinidadian said.

Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma was delighted.

“We were clinical from the start. I think the opening stand set the game up for us. Lendl coming back after a long time, playing that way was amazing. And Polly, a brilliant finisher. Great performance by the bowlers as well and to win by 146 runs is huge,” Rohit Sharma said.

“It gives us confidence, knowing our bench strength is strong. We always had a lot of faith in Lendl and he showed us why he is one of the best. Never in two minds, always went for his shots. A player like that gives a lot of freedom to the other guys. With a lot of dew on the ground, we expected a tighter game. But the way we bowled our first six overs was brilliant.

“Result of our hard work over the last three four weeks, we have prepared well, we were clear in our minds. That clarity has been helping us,” he said.

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