Thursday, 12 May 2011

Candid Hopes gives credit to better team

CHENNAI: “If the opposition beats you by playing good cricket,” said Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni, “you should accept it with an open heart.” That is exactly what Delhi Daredevils’ stand-in captain James Hopes did, as his side fell short by 18 runs on Thursday against a stronger opposition. 
Six points and six places separated the two teams before the start of the match, and Delhi’s task was made even harder as they were without talismanic skipper Virender Sehwag due to injury. However, Hopes was not in the mood to make excuses, admitting the better side had won. “We met them on a good night. The 18-run margin of victory is a pretty accurate reflection of the way the game went. We were chasing our tails a bit in the last five overs of our bowling.”
Having been asked to bowl first, Delhi picked up two early wickets and initially managed to keep a strong Chennai batting line-up quiet, despite missing two chances to pick up a third wicket soon after. However, the hosts scored 109 runs off the final 10 overs, thanks largely to MS Dhoni’s 31-ball 63, to reach an imposing 176/4. Even though they lost wickets regularly, till the 17th over Delhi were actually ahead by a run in the comparative scores for the two teams (Delhi were 127/4 while Chennai were 126/3). But the last three overs when Chennai scored 50 runs cost Delhi in the end, who themselves only managed 31 runs in that period to end at 158/6.
Hopes praised his counterpart Dhoni’s innings, which eventually proved to be the difference between the two sides. “We dropped two catches in a row, but I think after 15 overs (when batting), we were still two runs in front in the comparison [Delhi were 107/3 while Chennai were 105/3]. Dhoni at the end was pretty devastating.”
The Australian added: “I think it’s a common denominator with all the teams that are at the top of the table. They all have some power-hitters coming in late on, and it is showing.”
Selected as the man-of-the-match, Dhoni agreed. “I think that’s one plus point that we have got – We have got firepower lower down the order, which means you need the platform. The overs between eight and 13 are the important ones, when it is crucial to not lose wickets. It’s not about getting eight or nine runs per over. Even if you get seven or seven-and-a-half runs an over, that gives you the platform, depending on which you can get maybe 60 or more runs in the last 6-7 overs. And more often than not, that has been provided by our top-order batsmen.”
Chennai now lead the points table and are unbeaten at home in six games this season so far. “That’s something we have done really well. It’s something we should be proud of, but just because we have not been beaten in the last few games, doesn’t mean we can’t be beaten. You have to acknowledge the fact that there are teams that can play better than you on that particular day and beat you. So it’s very important for us to be at our best,” cautioned Dhoni.
Meanwhile, Delhi are eighth in the table with two games to go, and Hopes is looking to use the remaining games to build for next season. “We’ve got two games, so we’ll try to work on some combinations for next year.”

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