Matches (15)
WI vs SA (1)
IPL (1)
County DIV1 (3)
County DIV2 (4)
T20WC Warm-up (3)
CE Cup (3)

Ponting calls for 'soul-searching' after Capitals' third straight loss

The head coach said he couldn't quite "put a finger" on what was troubling his team

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
The Delhi Capitals are "a long way off right now" but Ricky Ponting can't fathom the reasons behind their collective failure just yet.
On Saturday, they went down for a third straight time in IPL 2023 after falling 57 short of Rajasthan Royals' 200-run target.
"I can't put my finger on why because I watch these boys train and prepare," Ponting said. Their work has been really good, their training has been great, but it hasn't come across in terms of results yet on the field.
"If I could put my finger on it, I'd do something to change it. We need to do some more soul-searching as a group and talk about it. Maybe not tonight. I'll just let the guys have a think of it. We may address it the next day, but we need to turn it around pretty quickly. Three games in and no wins…you can't get afford to get off to bad starts in the IPL."
Ponting was also point-blank in his assessment that the Capitals found themselves chasing the game after just one over of each innings. Yashasvi Jaiswal smashed five boundaries off the first over, bowled by Khaleel Ahmed, and Jos Buttler soon joined in the fun, the pair adding 98 off just 8.3 overs to set the tone for the Royals.
With the ball, the losses of Prithvi Shaw and Manish Pandey for ducks in the very first over to Trent Boult left the Capitals with a steep ask, not least because the batting line-up has had to be shuffled every game.
Mitchell Marsh, who batted at No. 3 in the first two games, missed this game to attend his wedding in Perth, while their No. 4 Sarfaraz Khan was dropped. In came Rovman Powell, who had missed the second game, and Lalit Yadav for his first outing of the season.
Then there was also the issue of David Warner working his way back into batting rhythm.
"In the first two games, we sort of got to none for 40 early on and then lost wickets in the back part of the powerplay. Today was completely different," Ponting said. "We were two down in the first over and you let your back to the wall from there.
"You look at that aspect of our game, you look at our first two overs with the ball, they were none for 32 with eight fours and nothing else, it says our execution with the ball was way below what it needs to be. So, if you look at the first two overs of our bowling innings and first two overs of our batting innings, you put those together and it's very hard to win games of cricket."
Ponting was then quizzed about Shaw specifically. After being done in by Mark Wood's pace and Mohammed Shami's bounce in the first two games, he was out to Boult's late swing as he nicked a full delivery in trying to play an expansive on-drive. Shaw now has scores of 12, 7 and 0 in his three innings this season.
There's been a pattern to his struggles against pace. Six of his eight dismissals since IPL 2022 have been to short of back-of-a-length deliveries, but Ponting insisted it was swing and not pace or bounce that was playing on his mind against the Royals.
"Probably it was the moving ball that worried him today," Ponting said. "If any of you guys were at training yesterday and watched him bat, he looked like a million dollars. So, his preparation was great. It's probably something we need to think about.
"He's now got a poor record against left-armers, it's something every opposition would know, it's something that we need to work on with him. But as I said we're not going to point fingers at one person, we don't do that at Delhi Capitals. We're all in this together and have to play better as a group of 11-12 to get the results we're after."

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo