Despite loss, Lehmann impressed with bowlers
Deccan Chargers coach Darren Lehmann has said he is confident that a better batting and fielding effort can help them end their winless run in this IPL season. He was speaking after Chargers' five-wicket loss to Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday when they took the game to the last over despite defending 126.
"I was really proud of the way we fought with the ball. The pleasing thing which I love from a young group of players is that we keep fighting, that's four games in a row we've gone down to the last over," Lehmann said. "We were about 15 short with the bat but they bowled well. We should have made about 145. I think we lost five for 40 in the last eight overs when we were two down. It was a tough wicket to play on, but we should have made 145."
Lehmann has criticised his side's fielding in the past and did it again, after Anand Rajan dropped Debabrata Das with 17 needed off 14 deliveries. "You always like to take those catches," he said. "We needed to take that catch and we'd have been in the game. For me it's just about getting some facets of our game right. Ticking off the boxes in the middle order, holding our catches and bowling like we did tonight. If we do that, we'll win games."
He was also critical of Knight Riders' batsmen and their inability to handle the Chargers fast bowlers. "Manoj Tiwary and Das could not handle [Dale] Steyn or Veer [Pratap Singh]. He [Tiwary] won't be playing for India much longer."
Tiwary and Steyn shared words in the 16th over, and the batsman was almost run out when he strayed from his crease during the exchange. Lehmann said, "The shorter you bowl to these players the more they struggle. Then they hit one down to long-on."
Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir said that his side did well in testing conditions. "It was a good game of cricket. You want to play such games to test yourself in such conditions. Low-scoring games are very important in the tournament. It should not always be a high-scoring game. There have to be wickets for the bowlers as well, because they also come to play a game of cricket."
He also defended allrounder Yusuf Pathan, who has struggled with the bat through the tournament. "For me he is the biggest match-winner [and] if we can win games without him then that shows the depth in our team. I'm sure he will end up winning two or three games single-handed for us," Gambhir said. And if Lehmann voiced doubts over Tiwary's international future, Gambhir backed Das to do well. "Das has a lot of quality. If he keeps playing like this, then he will play for India."