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Disappointed with our performance this season, says Delhi Daredevils head coach Rahul Dravid

"Therefore, it is hard to assess, as each and every game was different. Nevertheless, that is not really an excuse, as we had the squad and players to make up for that," he quoted.

Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson of Delhi Daredevils with Mentor Rahul Dravid
Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson of Delhi Daredevils with Mentor Rahul Dravid after winning an IPL 2017 match between Delhi Daredevils and Gujarat Lions. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

The ‘perennial underachievers’ tag will continue to linger with Delhi Daredevils as they end yet another season without having qualified for the playoffs. Having been out of contention to make the top four, Delhi Daredevils hoped to play party-poopers against the teams they were up against. They were indeed able to hold up Rising Pune Supergiant’s entry into the playoffs with a 7-run victory.

However, DD ended the 10th edition of the IPL on a disappointing note, having lost to wooden-spoon holders Royal Challengers Bangalore in a dead rubber. The final game of the league phase saw RCB overcome the Daredevils by 10 runs.

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Head coach of the Delhi Daredevils Rahul Dravid wasn’t the happiest man in the Delhi camp. During the post-match press conference, Dravid addressed the many issues that resulted in an all-too-familiar outcome for the Delhi Daredevils.

“Obviously we are disappointed with our performance this season. We were pretty confident initially during the season that we could qualify. However, it did not happen. There were about five or six games, which we could have won, but we could not cross the line. Therefore, it is surely a disappointment,” Dravid said.

“Including today’s game, we have played about seven to eight close games, but we managed to win just a couple. Therefore, losing six close games makes things difficult for you. Had we won one or more games, the situation could have been different,” he added.

It was a roller-coaster ride of sorts for the Delhi Daredevils, who weren’t able to maintain a winning streak. Needing at least 8 wins, they finished with just 6, thus ending at 6th position. However, there were some bright spots for the Delhi Daredevils, especially with the youngsters stepping up to the occasion. In particular, Rishabh Pant was quite outstanding for the Daredevils, racking up 366 runs this season at a stunning strike rate of 165.61.

“Rishabh has played brilliantly in the tournament. However, consistency is one thing, which they need to learn in the future. Nevertheless, there is ability in many of them, including Rishabh, who has shown great resilience with some fine innings. He started the tournament on a difficult situation, as his father had expired. He showed his strong mental strength, as he recovered from it and performed sensibly right through the season, and I firmly believe he would become an important player in the future for India,” Dravid shared.

Mumbai Indians looking strong this season

Along with the Delhi Daredevils, Gujarat Lions, Kings XI Punjab, and Royal Challengers Bangalore will have to watch the playoffs from home as they finished in the bottom four. Table toppers Mumbai Indians will take on their 2017 nemesis Rising Pune Supergiant in the first Qualifier. Meanwhile, defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad will have to battle it out against the Kolkata Knight Riders in the first Eliminator. Dravid was asked about the top four teams who will be in action in the playoffs starting May 16.

“Mumbai Indians looks like they have a balanced side. Having said that, KKR have shown as well that they have some dangerous players in the tournament, who can do well. Rising Pune Supergiant have been performing really well collectively as a unit. Sunrisers have quality players like David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan, Yuvraj Singh, Rashid Khan, who are doing well. So, I feel the players, who would stand up for their team over the next few days would win it,” he said.

Plagued by injuries

Some claimed the Delhi Daredevils setup lacked experience this season. Some of the bigger names in the side were out with injury and missed part of or the whole tournament. Quinton de Kock, who was prolific for the Daredevils last season, missed out with a finger injury. Fellow South African JP Duminy decided to give this year’s IPL a miss for personal reasons. Despite returning to the squad after a hamstring strain, Angelo Mathews couldn’t make much of an impression. However, Dravid was positive about the players who were in the camp this year.

“We took the decision to back some more Indian talent and balance it out with some foreign experienced players. Unfortunately for us, at the start of the season, after the auction, Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy were a few of the experienced players, who pulled out of the IPL because of injury. That suddenly made us look for replacements in the last minute and I guess it’s not easy when most of the players are taken,” Rahul Dravid added.

Young guns firing

There were nevertheless some brilliant performances, namely Sanju Samson’s century and Rishabh Pant’s whirlwind 97. Shreyas Iyer also came agonizingly close to a century. In the fielding department, Corey Anderson impressed one and all with a couple of fantastic catches. On the whole, Dravid was pleased with the way the team shaped up throughout the month long league phase.

“We have all seen a few flashes of brilliance, including some fantastic performances, as well as score a hundred in some of the innings they have played. However, we would have liked him to be a bit more consistent,” he said.

“I think the team was good, maybe a little bit inexperienced because of the injuries early on. However, I still think we had the ability along with many opportunities in many games, which I look back. Maybe this is something we can learn from and take ahead in the future,” he concluded.

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