Gujarat Lions' top-order failure in last two matches worries coach Brad Hodge
Rajkot: Two consecutive comprehensive defeats including one suffered at the hands of Delhi Daredevils on Tuesday, has Gujarat Lions coach Brad Hodge concerned.
Gujarat Lions’ opener Brendon McCullum is bowled by Delhi Daredevils’ skipper Zaheer Khan during the IPL match at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Tuesday. Pic/PTI
“There are several areas of concern,” Hodge admitted at his post-match conference in Rajkot. “If you look three quick wickets with only a few runs on the board, you are asking for trouble.” The Lions lost Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith and Aaron Finch in four overs with only 24 runs on board.
“In the last game against Kings XI Punjab too, we lost four quick wickets with Axar Patel taking a hat-trick. Today, we lost our best batters in the Powerplay. This is a matter of concern and we need to look at it urgently.”
Nevertheless, Hodge praised his frontline batsmen and described them as “free spirited, natural strokeplayers” and suggested that they would be better off being careful about their shot-selection and adapting to conditions.
Talking about spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Shivil Kaushik dismissing Sanju Samson of Daredevils and Steven Smith of Rising Pune Supergiants only to discover the bowlers had overstepped, Hodge exclaimed: “Unforgivable, unforgivable.” He said the bowlers would have to quickly adjust and reiterated that the last two matches “hurt very much”.
Though Hodge criticised the pitch, he emphasised that it could not be an excuse for his team’s below-par performance. “We need to learn from these defeats and close finishes,” he signed off.
Meanwhile, young opener Rishabh Pant, who scored a match-winning 69 for the Daredevils, said he was “happy to justify” the captain and team management’s confidence in his ability.
“I have learnt a lot from my South African teammates Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy. They are very encouraging and supportive,” he said.“There has also been so much encouragement from our coach Rahul Dravid and captain Zaheer Khan, who have played a lot of international cricket between them. The atmosphere in the Delhi Daredevils dressing room is cheerful,” he added.