Kolkata: Captain Zaheer Khan on Thursday said the coming five games in a span of nine days starting with the clash against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Friday will be a defining phase for Delhi Daredevils (DD) in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL).
Coming from a six-day break after a hat-trick of losses, Zaheer said the Daredevils need to look at the next five games as “one bunch and start kicking” if they wish to resurrect their IPL 10 campaign.
Daredevils are currently languishing at the second last position in the standings with just two wins out of six games. “We need a winning momentum. We are playing five matches in the next nine days. It’s an important phase for our campaign in this IPL. If we can achieve a winning momentum, many things will fall in place by May 6,” Zaheer told reporters on the eve of the match against KKR.
“It’s not about looking at this game, but it’s about looking at the five games together. It’s very important for us to look at this nine days rather than just on Friday’s game. As a group we are going to look at next nine days rather than just one. For us to get a kicking in this tournament, we really need to focus on these nine days. The next nine days will be defining and I’m confident this group will deliver when it matters,” he said.
Daredevils campaign in the last phase of the tournament will get a huge boost by the inclusion of West Indies all- rounder Marlon Samuels, who has been named as a replacement for injured Quinton de Kock. Zaheer said Samuels will join the team on April 29 on the eve of their next match against Kings XI Punjab.
Daredevils though can take a lot of heart from the fact that they have played less number of matches compared to other teams and also have a healthy net run-rate of +0.848 which is only second to table toppers KKR (+1.153). “There have been many close games but we are not able to finish them. If you see the points table, we have a very good net run-rate. It happens only if a team does well. Everyone knows it,” Zaheer pointed out.
Asked whether failure of young batsmen were hurting the side, he said: “It’s about winning games right now. The way matches have gone for us, if we converted two wins out of those close games, it would have been a different scenario.”
“Overall, the kind of potential we have as unit is amazing. It just needs a little bit of confidence. It comes with winning. These five games are very crucial as far as our campaign is concerned. I have no doubt that this team will deliver the goods which are expected from them.”
Daredevils losing streak began against KKR when Manish Pandey sealed a four-wicket win in the penultimate delivery but Zaheer said the key is to look ahead. “We have understood the areas we should be looking at and the kind of approach we should have for a particular situation. I’m very confident of coming games,” Zaheer said.
Daredevils last played Mohammad Shami in their home match against KKR but Zaheer said the pacer is completely fit and his exclusion from the playing eleven was more to do with team composition. With a fine pace attack at his disposal, Zaheer said they are excited to bowl in the relaid bowling-friendly Eden wicket. “I should congratulate Sourav (Ganguly) on that. He’s done a fantastic job, everyone is excited about Friday’s challenge,” he concluded.