Quinton de Kock rues fielding errors, defends bowlers

After being outclassed by the bottom-ranked Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in a chase of 182, Quinton de Kock, Delhi Daredevils’ opener, defended his bowlers but blamed the fielding lapses for their narrow nine-run defeat at the PCA Stadium in Mohali, on Saturday (May 7).

KXIP team plundered 80 runs in the final seven overs to post a challenging 181 from their quota of overs before executing their plans to perfection in death overs to restrict the visitors to just 172. De Kock, however, felt that it was their fielding mistakes and not bowling that cost Delhi their second game on the trot, for the first time in the ninth season of the Indian Premier League.

“I’m sure we gave a lot of runs away, but I think our bowling was fine. We were just a little bit sloppy in the field,” the Daredevils opener told media after the nine-run loss. “It was a good wicket, and other teams bat well also. We would like to bowl them out for 120 every time but that can’t happen,” he added.

Marcus Stoinis, the destructor-in-chief, got two reprieves within a space of four deliveries as the Delhi fielders missed close chances to run him out. The Kings XI opener was on 16 when as many as three fielders converged but failed to send in a throw from the cover region, allowing Stoinis, who was halfway down, to regain his crease safely. In the next over, Nadeem’s failure to collect the throw neatly at the non-striker’s end gifted Stoinis his second chance when the batsman was sent back by his partner Hashim Amla. The Australian all-rounder made the most of the opportunities and crafted his maiden IPL half-century to guide his team to a winning score. He topped it up with a three-wicket haul to bag the Man of the Match award.

Delhi were not out of the contest until the excellent spell of bowling in death overs by Punjab. De Kock showed little mercy as he hammered his third fifty-plus score of the season, off just 27 balls, to lead the chase effortlessly. His wicket, first of Stoinis’s three in the night, triggered a dry spell and subsequently a collapse that saw Delhi finishing nine runs off the mark. The opener credited the two Sharmas in the Punjab camp Sandeep and Mohit for choking the chase with some tight bowling.

“Ya, I think that (death overs) was kind of where we lost it a little bit. With the new ball, it was quite nice to play and then towards the end of the game, it got a lot harder (to score),” he explained. “Obviously they bowled pretty well also. We tried our hand but Mohit and Sandeep bowled well and to their fields. They also hit their yorkers. But saying that, we were also in a good position at that stage. It happens I guess,” the 23-year-old wicketkeeper-bat added.

De kock also brushed aside suggestions that the two back-to-back defeats will rob them of the momentum going forward. “No, there’s no worry. Obviously a little bit of loss of rhythm. But I don’t think we’re the only team that (this) has happened to in the campaign this year. We’ve got enough games still to play, so just need to make sure we get back into our winning ways. Winning is a habit I guess,” he noted.

Delhi have now lost two in the row, and against teams reeling at the bottom half of the table, which has thrown the competition wide open. De Kock reiterated that the management’s decision to rest three key players – Zaheer Khan, Chris Morris and de Kock himself – in their seven-wicket loss against Rising Pune Supergiants two nights ago, was keeping in mind that the senior players are well rested before the competition for the playoffs berth heats up. “Well there were a couple of guys that needed it, they were a bit sore. A bit of the older guys were a bit sore,” he offered.

Zaheer, team captain, and pacer Morris were said to be carrying niggles ahead of Delhi’s final home game at the Feroz Shah Kotla. Shahbaz Nadeem was the fourth man of the quartet that sat out of Thursday’s game.

“We’ve played a lot of cricket lately, so they just needed some time on the physio bed. We are only halfway through our campaign at this moment, so just making sure we don’t have any injuries at the wrong times,” he concluded.

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