Been a tough day, but happy with team’s intent: Zaheer Khan

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‘Intent’ was a word that Zaheer Khan, the Delhi Daredevils captain, stressed on after the nine-wicket routing of his team at the hands of a clinical Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens on Sunday (April 10).

Kolkata did their homework right and, having had a close look at the wicket, opted to go with three pacers and two spinners – a move which they gained plenty from. Delhi came out all guns blazing and raced away to 23 off the first two overs, making their intent clear. However, Andre Russell pulled things back spectacularly with a double blow in the third over to send back both Quinton de Kock and Shreyas Iyer.

“First two overs we were 23 so we had the start,” Zaheer said after the game. “But it does happen, you do get caught up in that moment. KKR bowlers held it together and hit the right areas. And then it was just about dealing with pressure. These things happen.

“As a bowler, I’m happy to see this kind of wicket. You have to give credit where it’s deserved. Sometime you do get caught up in the T20 format and that’s what happens batting first. You are always chasing that big number. These things can happen, nothing wrong in that.

“I really felt the boys showed the intent on the field that was required. That’s how we want to see Delhi Daredevils as a unit, out there fighting hard on the field. Scores are going to come. I have full faith in our batsmen and the preparation. It’s just the beginning of the season, hope good things are going to come. It was a tough day for us and we accept that and move on.”

As easy as it is to assume that it’s just one game, it’s hard to ignore the fact that it’s a new season but the same old story for Delhi, who have very consistently floundered. Zaheer, himself, was caught trying too hard when Kolkata’s batsmen were running away with the game in their meagre chase of 98.

“As I said in the post-match presentation, I was trying a bit too much. You learn every day. I was on the field after a long time. Having a low total on the board, as a bowler, you try too much so I was looking for that extra swing for the left-hander which I was not getting. But overall, happy to be out there.

“Been a tough day, but I’m very happy and proud of the boys’ intensity and energy. That’s how we’re going to approach the season and that energy is what we’re looking for. It’s a young team and we’re going to create opportunities and are going to have that approach in this format,” he added.

Zaheer also cleared the air that JP Duminy was rested as a precautionary measure, while Mohammad Shami, who was bowling well in the nets has the confidence of his captain. However, he was left out on the day because of a combination that the team had in mind, before adding, “that’s what the IPL is all about.”

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