Zaheer's approach is most heartening

Zaheer's approach is most heartening

Wide Angle

Looking at the pitch, we knew it was not similar to the  230-plus track, and we were a bit surprised that Delhi went in with five fast bowlers. I think that gave us a bit of an edge, but more than that, I was delighted with the way we bowled as a unit.

This has to be our best performance to date in IPL 4 as a bowling group. Yes, Mithun did struggle in patches, but otherwise, every bowler was on top of his game and it was a tremendous effort to restrict a strong Daredevils batting line-up to 160, which was perhaps slightly less than par for the course on that track and the smallish ground.
To sort out Mithun’s no-ball problems will be on top of the priority list for the coaching staff. The occasional wide in limited-overs cricket is acceptable, but you can’t keep bowling no-balls consistently. That is something that must be worked on and worked out in the nets, because often, those extra deliveries and extra runs, not to mention free-hits, could mean the difference between victory and defeat.

Otherwise, I was generally happy with our fielding and especially our catching, and particularly thrilled with the way Zaheer performed. It was nice to see Zaheer return to his normal self. As is his wont, he picked up an early wicket, and that can be very handy against a team like the Daredevils, who are heavily dependent on their openers.

By picking up Warner and making scoring a little more difficult for Sehwag than he is used to, Zaheer made a huge difference. When he is bowling well and picking up wickets, it also rubs off on the other bowlers. To me, the best part about Zaheer was not just how he bowled, but also how much he was involved when Mithun and Arvind were bowling.
I have told Zaheer that he is the fielding captain, and it was nice to see him embrace that responsibility once again. When he is interacting with the younger bowlers, his mind is constantly ticking over for the entire 20 overs, and not just for his four overs. That is critical for our success as a bowling unit.

I am really glad that he led the way and has taken Arvind and Mithun under his wings. It was great to see him constantly chatting to the duo not just between deliveries, but also at the strategic time-outs.

I thought Virat played an exceptional innings, though he will know that having got his eye in and the bowling at his mercy, it is imperative to get the job done on his own and not leave anything to chance. AB de Villiers’ run out pushed us back a bit but once again, we saw the kind of presence Chris Gayle brings with him. That makes a big difference to both our mindset and that of the opposition, and I am sure Dilshan will want to have his say as well over the next few games.

One win took us from seventh in the table to second, but so rapidly are things changing and so fluid is the situation that one or two results can change the complexion of the entire points table. As a team, we are not therefore looking at the table at all, but focussing on going out and winning matches.

We are back home for our next game, against Pune Warriors, on Thursday. It is the first of three consecutive home matches for us, and after Thursday, we have a break of a week before our next encounter. It will be nice to begin our immediate home engagements with a victory, and go into the mini-break with a hat-trick of positive results!

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