Pune: Delhi DareDevils captain Virender Sehwag blamed his batsmen for the team’s 18-run loss to Kolkata Knight Riders in the first Qualifier, on Tuesday.
Sehwag said the 163-run target was very much achievable but the batsmen failed to fire.
“We didn’t bat well. The target of 163 was very much achievable on this wicket. But we collapsed… We lost two early wickets and it did not help us. We couldn’t make it in the last few overs, too,” Sehwag said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Asked if the presence of spinner Shahbaz Nadeem could have made some difference, Sehwag said: “Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav were bowling brilliantly… So, I could not have dropped them. The bowlers have always performed for us and most of them have won the Man of the Match awards, including Pawan Negi and Shahbaz Nadeem.
“It was a tough choice when it came to selecting the bowlers… We thought that the grass might help the pacers. In games like these, you need to back yourself in whatever decisions you make. But I don’t think it was our day.”
However, the DareDevils captain was not ready to lose sleep after the loss.
“I was telling my teammates that we have another chance to reach the final… We cannot relax in a T20 game… We need to go all out and give our best shot.”
Mahela Jayawardene, who top scored for the losers with a well-compiled 40, accepted that tactical errors cost them the match.
Speaking at the post-match media conference, Mahela said: “We didn’t get our tactics right today. We have had a good tournament and even in this game we were playing well. But a few mistakes cost us the game. In T20s, it is tough to make a comeback if you make mistakes.”
Asked why Ross Taylor was pushed down the batting order, Mahela said: “They had quite a few left-handed bowlers. We wanted to maximise the chances of scoring runs with our left-handers. So Ross came in late.”
He also dismissed suggestions that the DareDevils could have played an extra spinner. “Our quick bowlers have been our strength... It was just that we could not execute our game plan properly and the Knights played better than us.”
The Sri Lankan praised Yusuf Pathan and Laxmi Ratan Shukla.