Delhi Daredevils skipper Virender Sehwag blamed poor show by his batsmen for his side’s 18-run defeat at the hands of Kolkata Knight Riders in the first qualifier but remained confident of his team making it to the final of the Indian Premier League.
Chasing 163 for a win, Daredevils could manage just 144 for eight with all the big guns failing to contribute much.
“We did not bat well, 160 was chaseable. The required batting effort was just not there. We lost two early wickets and failed to make it in the last few overs,” Sehwag after the match.
He defended team selection when asked if presence of spinner Shahbaz Nadeem could have made some difference.
“Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav have bowled brilliantly for me. I cannot sit them out. It was a tough choice but we thought that the grass might help the pace bowlers,” he said.
He said his side has the wherewithal to qualify for the final by winning the Qualifier two.
“We have another chance to get there, we cannot relax, need to go all out. We can make it to the final,” said Sehwag.
Winning skipper Gautam Gambhir said they were confident of defending the total.
“We always felt that it was a 140-145 wicket, but when we got 160, we thought it was an above par score,” he said.
Asked if Jaques Kallis’ bowling along with his batting has proved crucial, Gambhir said each and every bowler has contributed in their good run so far.
“Not only about Kallis, all of them have bowled have bowled very well, lot of credit to all the bowlers including Balaji, Abdulla, Narine and others,” Gambhir said.
Paceman Laxmipati Balai had looked in some discomfort during the match but Gambhir said he will recover in time before Sunday’s final.
“We have four days for Balaji to recover from the injury,” he said.
Yusuf Pathan, who smashed a brilliant 21-ball 40 to help his side reach a challenging total, said he was pleased to have lived up to the expectations of the team.
Yusuf had a poor run of form before this match and had coped a lot of criticism.
“There are always big hopes from me. I had not performed well in the previous games, but I know that I can get going in a big match,” he said after receiving man-of-the-match award.
Yusuf said having enough overs to settle down on the pitch helped him get his touch back.
“I had a lot of time to get in and adjust myself to the track today. Now we are waiting for the big game. We will relax and await for it eagerly,” he said.
KKR bowling consultant Wasim Akram said Gambhir’s leadership has made a huge impact on team’s fortunes this season.
“I am happy to be associated with KKR. It’s a great bunch of boys, love to stick around with each other. Long story what’s changed from the first four years, but to cut it short, it’s all because of a very good captain and an enthusiastic owner,” the Pakistani bowling legend said.
Akram was happy that the team strategy worked in the match.
“We read the wicket well, we played four spinners, they played only one, had they got in another spinner or two, it could have gotten lot closer,” he said.