The decision to leave out paceman Morne Morkel in the IPL Qualifier-II raised a lot of eyebrows but Delhi Daredevils head coach Eric Simmons defended the strategy, saying it was aimed at finding the "right balance" in the side.
Simmons said Andre Russell was an automatic choice in place of injured all-rounder Irfan Pathan and they needed a second spinner against the Chennai batting line-up, so little known Sunny Gupta was chosen.
Delhi crashed out of the IPL-V as they conceded a mammoth 222 runs and went on to suffer a humiliating 86-run defeat against Chennai Super Kings, last night.
"When we do not have the services of Irfan Pathan, we needed to find balance. The question is not about Morne Morkel. Russell bowled well giving away 29 runs, took a catch and scored 16 runs. He made a decent contribution. So, you could measure from that perspective. Russell was the direct replacement for Irfan Pathan," Simmons said at the post-match press conference.
"That is the decision we made and took our chance. Sunny was a risk. Obviously, Chennai are a very balanced side with four left-handers and four right-handers in the top eight and it makes very difficult. We had to take a decision to play someone who turns the ball away," he added.
Simmons said they could have won the match had they restricted Chennai to under-200.
"Chennai has been very good in chasing. Murali Vijay played an incredible innings. If we could have restricted them to 180 or so, we could get it and then things works. It is difficult to sit in a situation like this and completely judge in hindsight. Someone plays a great innings and we paid the price," he said.