Delhi Capitals assistant coach Mohammad Kaif has revealed that the management had full faith that Marcus Stoinis would hold his nerve with the ball in hand and get the team over the line in the final over. Up against a rampant Tripathi, Stoinis conceded just 7 runs to hand DC an 18-run victory.
At 151/6 off 16 overs, requiring still 78 off just 24 balls, the chase of 229 looked well out of Kolkata Knight Riders’ reach, but an incredible onslaught from the duo of Eoin Morgan and Rahul Tripathi brought the game within striking distance. A barrage of sixes from the bat of Morgan and Tripathi meant that KKR, who lost the Englishman in the 19th over, needed 26 off the final over to do the impossible.
With Rabada having already finished his quota of 4 overs, the Capitals had to choose between the off-spin of Ravi Ashwin and the medium pace of Marcus Stoinis for the final over, and after pondering for a while, they went ahead with the Australian. The decision turned out to be a masterstroke as the all-rounder bowled the perfect final over, conceding just 7 runs, while also castling danger-man Tripathi with an inch-perfect outswinging yorker.
Speaking after the game, DC’s assistant coach Mohammad Kaif revealed that the management had full faith that Stoinis would deliver the goods. The former Indian batsman said that the form Stoinis displayed with the ball in the nets gave them the confidence to throw the ball to the right-armer.
"Marcus Stoinis has been bowling well in this tournament. Whenever he has had the ball in his hand, he has looked comfortable. He has been bowling 135kmph consistently. We knew he had to bowl 2-3 overs in the game against KKR. Stoinis looked good in the nets as well and we had no doubts that he will come good in the last over, especially the yorker to Tripathi was right up there,” Kaif said in the post-match presentation.
Stoinis was not the only all-rounder who shone with the ball for Delhi, as 29-year-old Harshal Patel, too, put up an outstanding performance in his first match of the season, conceding just 34 runs and taking 2 wickets off his 4 overs. Kaif claimed that the Haryana skipper had the perfect skill-set to excel on the Sharjah wicket.
"He was bowling a lot of cutters, but he was bowling into the wicket. He got the skillset right for this wicket," Kaif said of Harshal Patel.
Batting first, Delhi put up a mammoth 228, and the tone was set up-front by the openers, who scored 57 runs off the powerplay. Kaif revealed that the think tank had specifically asked the openers to show intent from ball one, and heaped praise on young Shaw, who stole the show with an exquisite 66.
"Sharjah is a high-scoring game. We spoke to the batters before the game to probably show some more intensity in the powerplay, and we got that from Shikhar and Shaw. Shaw played a fantastic knock. We know how dangerous he can be in the powerplay,” said the 39-year-old.
Kaif, further, was also full of praise for veteran Amit Mishra, who turned the game in Delhi’s favour with an exceptional spell in the middle. Mishra’s 1/14 strangled the KKR batsmen and Kaif claimed that the veteran’s dismissal of Shubman Gill was integral in DC winning the game.
"Mishra has been playing the IPL for many years. Shubman Gill's wicket was very crucial; he is someone who likes to play till the end, and the way Mishra bowled to Gill, it was great to see. Rabada had an off day. Overall, it was a complete game.”
The dominant win on Saturday took DC, who now have 6 points from 4 games, to the top of the table.