After a ruthless loss at the hands of Sunrisers Hyderabad, Ricky Ponting has opined that Saha’s knock had surprised him before admitting that Delhi found it hard to drag back the encounter. The Australian also stated that it was an obvious ploy from them to promote Stoinis at the top of the order.
Delhi got off to the best start possible in the 2020 edition of the IPL, where they turned every fixture into a win, with seven wins coming into the middle half of the competition. A mini-slump, where they lost three consecutive games put their hopes of a top-two finish in doubt, as they met Sunrisers Hyderabad in what was a must-win game for the men in Orange.
Sunrisers’ intent and approach was quite clear - go after every bowler to put up a big total, with them even taking the risk of dropping Jonny Bairstow for Wriddhiman Saha. In the end, the approach combined with Saha’s magical knock took Sunrisers to an above par-total, which in the end turned out to be a match-winning one. After the loss, DC’s head coach Ricky Ponting admitted that Saha’s knock surprised him before opining that Delhi found it tough to pull the game back.
"We opened up with Kagiso and Nortje, identifying how big a wicket David Warner was. We knew that Saha would open the batting. They were 77 for none at the end of the powerplay and they played beautifully. As it has happened quite a few times in the tournament so far, when the teams have got on top of us, we've found it hard to drag it back. Today was a great example of that," said Ponting in the post-match press conference.
The Indian wicketkeeper replaced Bairstow in the playing XI and immediately put the in-form Delhi bowling unit under the pump, with his range of shots. In just his second game this season, Saha scored a 45-ball 87, making the Delhi team chase the encounter right from the first innings.
"We've got some work to do on our all-round game. Out fielding has been a bit sloppy and our batsmen have struggled to find any sort of rhythm. Saha played beautifully today. He actually surprised me a little bit. I know he is a dangerous player but to come back after a long time and playing like he did was a super knock. It was the difference in the game."
On the other hand, Delhi find themselves in a precarious situation, as the openers have failed to give them a decent start in this competition, with four zero-run partnerships in the last six games. In a desperate attempt to boost up the run-rate, the management promoted Marcus Stoinis to the top of the order, a move that dramatically failed. Ponting agreed that the move was a bit experimental and a lot circumstantial.
"Chasing 220, with Rahane and Shikhar at the top, we thought if we lost an early wicket, we would have to match them (SRH) in the powerplay and get to 65 or 70. Stoinis has been in sensational form so far, he was dying for an opportunity at the top-order. It didn't come off today but it was all circumstantial because we were chasing such a big total. It was a bit of experimentation,” he concluded.