Delhi Capitals' bowling coach James Hopes was left to rue the inability of his batters to convert starts into a big knock in a chase of 196 against Lucknow Super Giants at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday. With the dynamic opening pair of Prithvi Shaw and David Warner falling in power-play, Mitchell Marsh (37 off 20) and captain Rishabh Pant (44 off 30 balls) forged a counter-attacking stand of 60 off just 25 balls to keep Delhi in the hunt. After the duo and Lalit Yadav fell, Rovman Powell cracked 35 off 21 balls while Axar Patel produced a late burst of 42 not out off 24 balls but Delhi missed the win by six runs. Delhi's batting efforts fell pale in front of Lucknow's, who had skipper KL Rahul making 77 while Deepak Hooda played the perfect second fiddle with 52 apart from a 95-run stand off 61 balls between the two. "Our start with the ball was a little bit slow. We struggled to build pressure with the ball.
Axar Patel really dragged it back, he bowled really nicely. We thought it was a chaseable score. In the end, we had too many starts with the bat, we just missed that one player to kick on and get that 70-plus score to get us over the line," said Hopes in the post-match virtual press conference. During the eighth over of Delhi's innings, Marsh was dismissed in a strange way off Krishnappa Gowtham's bowling as he nicked behind without footwork and was caught behind by Quinton de Kock. The umpire raised the finger but replays later showed that there was no bat involved despite the definite sound of the edge. Asked about the same, Hopes stated that Marsh was dead sure that he had nicked behind. "Well, he was sure that he had hit it.
We know there was a flat line but Mitch was pretty adamant that he thought he hit it, and so was Quinton speaking after the game. So it's just one of those things that didn't go our way, you speak to the guys on the field -- some thought he hit it, some didn't hear anything. But Mitch was adamant he got a feather on it." With the six-run defeat giving Delhi their fifth loss of the season, every match for them now is a do-or-die one to have a crack at making the playoffs. Hopes is optimistic of Delhi bringing their best game in the coming five games. "To stay positive, we got five games left to make a push to get into the final four. It's very easy to break down a T20 game and say well, if this ball was different or if that ball was different, we're working with really small margins. We need to keep the guys positive, keep the guys focussed and keep understanding that we're very close. But I don't think we're playing our best cricket yet. On the other hand, our best cricket has to come sometime in the next two-three weeks."