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'Enjoyed my debut, would have loved to have sealed it with win', says DC's Shai Hope

Updated on: 27 March,2024 05:33 PM IST  |  Mumbai
mid-day online correspondent |

Though the 30-year-old right-handed batter from Barbados was satisfied with his performance and said his team did well in patches, he would have loved it if Delhi Capitals had won their opening match on Saturday

'Enjoyed my debut, would have loved to have sealed it with win', says DC's Shai Hope

Shai Hope. Pic/AFP

With a 25-ball 33 studded with two boundaries and two sixes, Shai Hope made an immediate impact for Delhi Capitals (DC) in his debut match in IPL 2024 -- a four-wicket defeat to Punjab Kings in Mullanpur, Mohali on Saturday.

Though the 30-year-old right-handed batter from Barbados was satisfied with his performance and said his team did well in patches, he would have loved it if Delhi Capitals had won their opening match on Saturday.

With Shai Hope contributing 33 at the top and Abishek Porel hammering a 10-ball 32 at the back end, Delhi Capitals reached a competitive 174/9 in 20 overs despite a stumble in the middle. Punjab Kings however chased the target, reaching 177/6 in the final over.

Though they lost the match, there were some positives for them, like their fightback to cross 170 after losing a couple of quick wickets in the middle part of the innings.

"First day? I would have loved the win to seal my IPL debut. But I thought that the guys played great cricket in patches, especially with the bat, to find ways to get up to that 170 mark. But again, we didn't kick on as batters to really explode in the back end to give us a bigger total," Shai Hope told IANS in an exclusive interview over the phone from Jaipur, where the Delhi Capitals will be playing their second match against Rajasthan Royals on Thursday.

"I thought that the conditions there (at Mullanpur), I think it was a new ground. So conditions were a little bit unfamiliar for most of the guys, but still felt as though we were a few runs short. And then in the bowling department, we didn't execute as well as we wanted to, but it was still great to see that. We put up a lovely fight there at the back end.

"The bowlers fought their heart out to give us the best chance to win the game. But the atmosphere was amazing. It's slightly different from what you feel and see on TV. So being there in the ground is a whole different vibe. So happy to be out there and playing some IPL cricket," said the West Indies ODI captain.

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Delhi Capitals also lost some momentum when veteran India pacer Ishant Sharma got injured and went out of the field. Ishant, who had sent back PBKS skipper Shikhar Dhawan and effected the run-out of Jonny Bairstow, twisted his ankle while fielding and did not take further part in the match.

"Yeah, it was a big loss. We understand how important he is in the Delhi Capitals team. He's such an asset with the ball and to lose him at that stage of the game put a little bit more pressure on Rishabh (Pant) as a skipper. But again, we can't control those things. It's just an accident, just the way how the world works. But it was a bit unfortunate for us. I'm not going to say that's the reason why, but yeah, it was a big loss for us," said Hope.

Playing his first match in IPL 2024, the West Indies' white-ball expert also enjoyed the atmosphere of a franchise team with players from different parts of the world in the dressing room.

He loved the loud cheers as Delhi Capitals skipper Rishabh Pant walked out to bat. Pant was making his comeback after recovering from a horrific car crash in December 2022. Shai Hope enjoyed that reception from the best position in the stadium -- from the crease.

"It was amazing. We all were so happy to see him out there after such a long time. Like I was saying, the world needs to see a Rishabh Pant and a fit Rishabh Pant and the atmosphere when he walked out to the crease -- because I was there at the crease as well. I felt a different buz. It was so loud. Everyone welcomed him with open arms.

"Even though it was an away game for us, it felt as though he was walking into the middle of Delhi. So I'm sure that we all wish him well and it's great to see that he's out there in the middle doing what he does because he looks in great touch. He's still playing well. He has the same upbeat spirit behind him. So he can only grow from strength to strength from here." he said.

Hope, who had scored a century in the ODI series against England in December, said Delhi Capitals will need to kick-on as batters, tidy up in the field, and execute a lot more with the bat to have as perfect a game as possible. He hoped that things would fall in place from their next match against Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur as they have the skills and experience to do so.

"We can always improve. There are always areas that you can improve on. Whether you had or you think you had the best game ever, you can always find ways to improve. So, we just need to kick on as batters when we get a start, go big, take it as deep as possible, and then with the ball, let's make sure we execute a lot more.

"And then obviously in the field, we know we dropped a few chances, just to clean up and tidy up in the field and try to get as close to a perfect game as possible. And as long as we tick our boxes, I'm sure that with our skill and experience, we will do well," he added.

Delhi Capitals take on Rajasthan Royals at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Thursday before returning to Visakhapatnam for the next two away 'home' matches. They play their remaining matches in New Delhi, which is their actual home base.

(With agency inputs)

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