Shreyas Iyer has referred to Delhi Capitals’ run to the IPL playoffs as a “dream season” and one he expects his team to build on next year. He also said he was “proud” of the way his team bounced back after a poor 2018 season with many of the players “showing initiative and taking responsibility’.
Capitals made it to the playoffs after a six-year gap and won a tight eliminator against Sunrisers Hyderabad before being outclassed by Chennai Super Kings in the second qualifier in Visakhapatnam. “It’s been a dream season for us and it’s just the start,” Iyer told the host broadcaster after the match. “We’ve got a lot more to come next season and yes, we have gelled as a team and we’ve found the pace and now it’s time to grow from here on.
“I am really proud the way [Capitals] played this season. The last season specially was really disappointing for us and the way we came out this year, everybody took that initiative and responsibility till this game.”
The one grievance most of the Capitals’ management had expressed throughout the season was regarding the low and slow nature of the pitch at the Feroz Shah Kotla, their home ground. Coach Ricky Ponting had said after the home defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad that the pitch did not suit Capitals’ style of play, whether it was the fast bowlers or the free-flowing batsmen. Capitals lost three out of their seven matches at home and Iyer also said it was an issue they needed to think about.
“It’s something to think about, the home games especially we didn’t win that many matches,” Iyer said. “But can’t really complain about the wickets. We have played a lot of our games on slow wickets, we’ve been practicing a lot, even the wickets we practice on in Delhi aren’t that safe for the batsmen because they have uneven bounce.”
Iyer felt that a poor Powerplay and lack of partnerships throughout their innings proved to be Capitals’ undoing against Super Kings. Capitals lost openers Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw in the first six overs, only managing to put 41 on the board in that period. While Super Kings only bettered that Powerplay total by one run, they didn’t lose a wicket.
The highest partnership for the Capitals was the 22 added by Rishabh Pant and Sherfane Rutherford for the sixth wicket and while four of their top five batsmen got starts, none of them got a substantial score. By contrast, both Super Kings openers went on to to score fifties, virtually killing the chase with their 81-run stand.
“We also expected the same, coming from Delhi, if the wicket was slow, it would have really helped us because we play in that soil and the wicket played quite similar,” Iyer said.
“We didn’t get that many runs as we expected, we really had a disappointing start, lost two wickets in the Powerplay, it was really tough to continue after that. We know that they have amazing spin bowling in between, it’s really difficult to control in that part. None of the batsmen took initiative to take the team through and there wasn’t any partnership building up.”