The Sunrisers Hyderabad captain, David Warner, has rued his team's sloppiness in the field in the second Qualifier against the Delhi Capitals. "You can't win tournaments if you keep dropping catches," Warner said after the game. The Sunrisers had put down three catches - one each of Marcus Stoinis, Shreyas Iyer and Shikhar Dhawan - in their 17-run loss in Abu Dhabi.
Stoinis was dropped in the third over on 3 off Sandeep Sharma at silly mid-on and went on to score a 27-ball 38, the most costly of the three drops. Iyer was put down on 21 off Jason Holder in the 14th over but he fell the very next ball, and Dhawan's chance - the easiest of the three - was grassed by Rashid Khan in the 19th over and he fell two balls later for 78. There were, however, misfields and overthrows as well, which all added to the Capitals' total.
"The main thing for me [to look back on] is attitude in the field," Warner told the host broadcaster at the post-match presentation. "You can't win tournaments if you keep dropping catches and not taking the chances. That's probably the only thing I have to look back at and make sure that we do better next time. I think with the ball and the bat there's probably times where we could have done better but we improved in the following games. So the main thing is attitude in the field that let us down this tournament."
Warner said he was proud of how his team made it to the playoffs while most of the focus was on the Mumbai Indians and the Capitals, who finished first and second on the points table, respectively. The Sunrisers, meanwhile, scraped through to third spot on the very last day of the league stage by defeating Mumbai, with the Royal Challengers at fourth.
The Sunrisers also had to deal with several injuries through the tournament. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mitchell Marsh were ruled out early, Kane Williamson hurt his hamstring to sit out four matches, and Vijay Shankar and Wriddhiman Saha also picked up injuries later in the tournament. Saha's hamstring tear especially hurt them after he opened in three innings with Warner to score 58*, 39 and 87, helping the Sunrisers win five in a row on their way to playoffs qualification.
Warner also heaped praise on left-arm quick T Natarajan who has bowled more yorkers than anyone this IPL so far, and finished with 16 wickets - that's 10th on the wicket-takers' list before the final.
"First and foremost, no one gave us a chance at the start," Warner said. "Everyone was talking about the big three teams and, yes, Mumbai have obviously got a great team and they've played extremely well to get to the final. Delhi as well, and obviously guys like RCB. I'm really proud to be where we are today. There's a lot of positives out of our campaign.
"Natarajan has been... waiting in the wings. So to get that chance, to have an IPL the way he has is outstanding. Rashid, the way he bowled throughout the tournament and Manish Pandey as well, the way he stuck at it and batted at No. 3 the whole tournament... From an all-round perspective I'm just happy with the way we played; the back half of the tournament is how we like to play our cricket."
When asked if missing key players to injuries was difficult to cope with, Warner said: "Ya, definitely. There's no excuses for that [though]. We lost key players, them missing out it was unfortunate... You just got to work with what you got and we had the belief and support of every other team member of the squad to go out there and execute their role to the best of ability. And as I said, really proud to get where we are today as no one gave us a chance."
Williamson, their key batsmen in the two playoff games with scores of 50 not out against the Royal Challengers and 67 against the Capitals for a tally of 317 from 11 innings summed up their season as one of "fine lines".
"We had a number of very, very close losses and we weren't perhaps playing our best," Williamson said at the post-match press conference. "Every team is very, very strong - everybody is beating everybody. You have to be top of your game. As a team we were looking for that rhythm to play as a collective and that perhaps took a little bit of time and a lot of teams were in a similar boat.
"It was nice we were able to find it at the crunch time and win sort of four of five [matches] in a row, which gave us this opportunity. But we would have loved to have go on through but it was not meant to be today."