Free Press Journal

Two nice injections of confidence helped us: Gary Kirsten


New Delhi: Upbeat after getting over the line in their previous two humdingers, Delhi Daredevils coach Gary Kirsten believes the team can surely take the momentum forward in the four straight home IPL games at the Feroz Shah Kotla starting tomorrow against Kolkata Knight Riders.

“It’s good to get the wins and I think it was important for us to get the winning feeling going and the winning habit. So I was pleased from that perspective,” Kirsten said on the eve of their fifth match, here today. “I think creating some momentum, that’s the key. Just keep the momentum going and maintain that. We have had two nice little injections of confidence now, so we need to maintain that form and stay confident,” he added.

Unlucky to lose two close games first up, the Jean-Paul Duminy-led side bounced back in the next two to rise up the ranks. After chasing down 166 with a ball to spare against Kings XI Punjab, DD stopped SunRisers Hyderabad from getting 10 runs of the final six deliveries. Kirsten was happy with the way the team has responded under pressure. Pretty happy with the way the guys responded in pressure situations. We had four really tough games and came through in two of them. So I think we are comfortable and on the right track. We have come to understand whatever we need to do in our combinations and so I am happy,” said the former South African batsman.

“I have been close to having a heart attack. But good to have those, to kind of get used to them. So this was something that we needed to do and to be able to pull through in two of them has been fantastic,” he added. Young openers Mayank Agarwal and Shreyas Iyer have also performed well for the team and Kirsten said the team has always backed its youngsters. “We have backed them all along (younger lot). We are happy with that,” he said.

Tournaments biggest buy, Yuvraj SIngh, who was bagged by DD for a record Rs 16 crore, also came to the party with a well-made 54 against King XI. Kirsten, who saw the veteran left-hander get the man of the series award in India’s 2011 World Cup triumph when the South African was the national coach, is delighted with Yuvraj’s effort. He is a quality player. We know that we can get performances out of him and he is keen to do well, so we can’t ask for more,” he said.

Leg-spinner Imran Tahir, 9 scalps in 4 matches, and Amit Mishra have also made it count in key situations. Kirsten not only rates them as key players but also lauds the team’s bowling department. “They are key bowlers without a doubt. They are important to us. But it’s not only them. We have got Coulter Nile, who really bowled well yesterday and closed the game for us. That’s what you need in T20 cricket, you need game breakers.There are guys who do a bit of ball and guys that do a bit of bat. So that’s got to be exciting,” said Kirsten.

Even Duminy is happy to get the right balance in the four matches so far, especially after the two wins. “It takes a team to put in a good performance. We made a couple of errors but we somehow found a way to get two points. At the start of the tournament that was the goal, to somehow find a way to get two points no matter how that happens. “I think we have figured our combination as far as batting is concerned and it’s going pretty well now,” the South African said.

“I think we have the balance now in terms of who suits where in what situation. It’s always the responsibility of the top six to get runs and we have done it in the past few games,” he added.