IPL 2020: "Players are feeling a bit of pressure", says Kaif after DC's fourth straight loss 

Delhi Capitals must now win their last league stage encounter to qualify for the playoffs.

After winning 7 of their first 9 games, DC have lost 4 on the bounce | Twitter/Delhi Capitals After dominating the first half of the competition, Delhi Capitals (DC) have suddenly forgotten how to win. And the team's assistant coach, Mohammad Kaif, said the side-affects of the four-match losing streak is that their players are feeling under pressure, with the possibility of missing out on a playoff berth despite seven wins rising. 

The nine-wicket defeat on Saturday (October 31) afternoon to defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) was as morale-damaging as it could get. After managing just 110/9 from their 20 overs in the first half, DC saw MI reach the goalpost inside 15 overs and at the cost of only wicket. 

Read Also: Shreyas Iyer admits ‘lots of flaws’ in DC’s game after heavy loss to MI

Kaif knows his team must now win their last league stage encounter to breathe free again and probably regain momentum, a turnround quite difficult considering their last few performances. 

"Players are feeling a bit of pressure, that can happen, we expect that, we are trying to keep the team together, at some stage you will lose form and struggle for it but we are still backing our main players, we did not expect that it might come down to net run-rate, we thought we might qualify easily, now we have to fight it out against RCB," said Kaif at the post-match press conference, as quoted by ANI

DC made three changes to their line-up against MI but that didn't reverse their fortunes. Speaking on the same, Kaif said they were all need of the hour. 

"We thought playing a leg-spinner (Praveen Dubey) was the right way to go, we brought back Shaw as he had played good innings in the initial phase of the tournament, we all know what he can do on his day, we are just trying to find the best possible combination, we kept the main players together, we still have a lot of players who can win the match for us, right now we don't have much time to set things up, we will focus on the next match."

"We had a good start, probably we relaxed a bit in the middle and injury to Ishant and Amit Mishra did not help, we had to try uncapped Indian players, that's why we could not get our eleven going, it is a tough tournament, we have probably lost the rhythm but we are looking to our next match against RCB, we hope to win that and qualify for the playoffs," Kaif added. 

Shreyas Iyer (25) and Rishabh Pant (21) were the only DC batsmen to breach the 20-run mark either side of alarming chaos. For MI, Trent Boult (3/21) and Jasprit Bumrah (3/17) were simply brilliant. 

In order to have any chance of defending their extremely modest total, DC needed Kagiso Rabada to replicate the MI duo's brilliance. But the wickets continued to elude the South African and he even conceded boundaries through his three-over spell of 0/27. 

Kaif, commenting on Rabada's midway dip which has coincided with DC's own downward curve in the tournament, said: "I feel Rabada in the initial matches, there was a little bit of grip, the ball was holding up and that made life tougher for the batsmen, he has been fantastic in the middle overs, the pitches have become slower now so his cutters are not holding in the surface."

In the second half, only off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (0/18) looked in any sort of control when MI's in-form young opener Ishan Kishan (72*) got going and blazed his willow for 8 fours and 3 sixes. 

DC play Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Monday (November 2) in Abu Dhabi.


By Kashish Chadha - 01 Nov, 2020

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