IPL: Ponting praises Iyer’s captaincy

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New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) Delhi Daredevils coach Ricky Ponting on Sunday praised Shreyas Iyer for the way he led the team during the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) after Gautam Gambhir stepped down from the captaincy earlier in the season.

“Gautam’s stepping down didn’t have any negative impact on our team. It probably came as a shock to the players and me. It was a courageous decision, you don’t see such a decision everyday,” Ponting said after Delhi defeated Mumbai Indians in their last IPL engagement this season.

“It gave opportunity to Prithvi Shaw to play and Shreyas stepping up for the captaincy. It was a daunting thing to do to captain and I think he handled the challenge well. He is a tremendous young guy and I won’t be surprised if I see more leadership role for him in future,” he added.

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Delhi, who were already out of the race for the play-offs, eliminated CSK’s chances by notching up a 11-run victory at the Ferozshah Kotla.

Delhi thus ended their campaign on a high with back-to-back wins in their last two matches. Ponting however, rued the lack of consistency, lamenting that better performances in some of the earlier matches could have seen them challenge for a berth in the knockout stages.

“We had a pretty tough draw. We had five games in a row away from home at the start of the tournament. We only won one of those,” the former Australia captain said.

“We can’t blame the Indian players, they have been outstanding, we can’t complain. Prithvi Shaw, Sandeep are some of the talented players we have and I hope they will have a long and successful IPL career here with us,” he added.

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Meanwhile, Mumbai star Ben Cutting blamed his team’s middle order batsmen for Sunday’s defeat.

Chasing a target of 175 runs in what was a must-win encounter for them, Mumbai were bundled out for 163 runs in 19.3 overs.

Cutting almost took Mumbai to victory with some lower order heroics, scoring 37 runs off 20 balls. But once he fell in the second ball of the final over, it was as good as over for the visitors.

“The target was more or less achievable. What I have seen is the variation of scores on this ground. The way we started with the bat was perfect,

it’s just that we lost our way in the middle. That score was close to the par or may five runs too many,” Cutting said.

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“It is the responsibility of the top six batsmen to get the runs. As a batsman it shouldn’t come down to batsmen 9,10 or 11, it shouldn’t. We had similar problems in the past. We lost 4/30 through the middle of the match. We got close but it dragged us down at the end of the day,” he added.

–IANS

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