We can make it to playoffs: Ponting

It might have come too late to help book their place in the IPL playoffs, but Sunday’s 91-run thrashing of Delhi Capitals showed how good Chennai Super Kings can be when they are in that sort of all-conquering mood. Chennai rattled up 208-6 after player-of-the-match Devon Conway smashed five sixes and seven fours in making 87 off 49 balls, his second 80-plus score this season and third half ton, besides laying a strong foundation with an opening stand of 110 with Ruturaj Gaikwad (41), also the second century partnership of the season by this pair.

Chasing, a concern

Capitals couldn’t handle the heat of chasing the huge score and folded up for a paltry 117 in 17.4 overs with Mitchell Marsh making the highest score of 25. The wickets were claimed by Chennai off-spinner Moeen Ali (3-13), another spinner, Maheesh Theekshana (1-29) and medium pacers Mukesh Choudhuay, Simarjeet Singh and Dwayne Bravo, who shared six wickets equally. Delhi head coach Ricky Ponting was confident that his team could still make the playoffs by rebounding strongly and winning the last three games.

“We still think we can make the playoffs with three wins that will take us to eight wins [overall] which might be good enough. To get in we might need a couple of results to go our way and, maybe, one big win to improve our run-rate. Who knows, we might [even] make the final. [However] We need to find a way to regroup and rebound after a bad performance,” Ponting said at the post-match conference.

All must-wins now

He blamed the shoddy batting display for the huge loss and didn’t want to give the excuse of one net bowler testing positive for Covid on match day. “We are not here to make excuses. In one of the earlier games against Punjab Kings too we had to deal with it on game day and we went on to win that game.

“We let ourselves down today [Sunday]. A lot of our bowling was not up to the mark and our batting too was very poor and left a lot to be desired today. To lose the game by 91 runs has put a huge dent in our net run rate. It means we have to be back really strongly in our next game. It’s all about us now making sure we are as good as we can for the last three games,” said the former Australia skipper.

Capitals have 10 points to their credit from 11 matches and have a net run-rate of 0.150 and were fifth on the table after the heavy defeat. Conway, 30, a South Africa-born New Zealander, who has figured in seven Tests for his adopted country, sounded pleased that he has been compared with former Australia batsman and part of CSK’s coaching staff, Mike Hussey.

Conway thrilled

“To be compared to one of the greats—Mike Hussey—is pretty special. He has got so much knowledge and experience, not only in the IPL but all over the world,” remarked Conway. He also said he has developed a good rapport with fellow opener Ruturaj. “I keep up the conversation with Rutu. He is a class player. We complement each other nicely in the middle,” said Conway who has figured in 20 T20 Internationals and three ODIs in New Zealand colours.

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