Delhi Daredevils captain Gautam Gambhir today conceded that West Indian Kieron Pollard's stunning late blitzkrieg of 13-ball 45 was mainly instrumental for his side's 39-run loss to Mumbai Indians in an IPL match here.
"I felt 160 was a chaseable target on this wicket but the 25 runs in the last over proved to be the turning point," Gambhir said at the post-match press conference.
Pollard slammed five sixes and two fours in 13 balls and added 50 runs in the last three overs with J P Duminy (21 not out) to set up a big score of 183 for four Mumbai after the home side elected to bat.
The defeat by 39 runs made things a bit more difficult for Delhi Daredevils to reach the semifinals but Gambhir chose to look at the positives.
"We need to win both our games (against Chennai Super Kings and Deccan Chargers) if we have to qualify for the semifinals. Sometimes it's good to be in such a position where you have to win both the games as you can express yourself completely in such games. It happened with Deccan Chargers," said the left-handed batsman after the match.
Gambhir was happy with the start of the Delhi run-chase but said his batsmen failed to bat through the innings.
"We started (the run-chase) well and scored well in the first six overs but needed one batsman to stay till the end.
Unfortunately we lost too many wickets after the sixth over.
It's great to start well but we have to finish too," said the India opening batsman who batted one-down today.
"We were up to the mark till the tenth over but we needed someone to play like Pollard and score 40 off 20 balls. It was a collective failure," he said.
Gambhir said the team had fielded the best combination for the match when asked whether in hindsight it was a mistake to leave out Daniel Vettori from the eleven.
The Delhi captain also said that age did not matter in Twenty20 cricket as has been shown by Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis and Rahul Dravid.
Man of the match Pollard gave credit for his stunning display to the team management which he said have kept faith in him despite not having played to his potential in the earlier ties.
"It finally came through. I was hitting well in the nets. Credit goes to the team management. They had faith in me and persisted and I came good today," he said.
Pollard praised the effort of the higher order batsmen in setting up the platform nicely for him to explode at the end.
"The guys up front played well. We have been losing wickets early. (Ambati) Rayudu and (Saurabh) Tiwary played well. We scored in the first five overs and played well in the end," the Trinidadian all-rounder said.
He said the team was peaking at the right time and wanted to continue to do well in the remaining matches ahead of the semifinals.
"We have qualified for the semifinals. We want to try and give our best in the remaining matches. Hopefully we will continue to play well as a team," the West Indian said.
"We have worked really hard. We don't want to play so well and not get to the final. It’s about the right time (in peaking). We won five games in a row, lost two and now we have come back," Pollard said.