x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Delhi Daredevils’ run chase falls just short against Sunrisers Hyderabad

Kevin Pietersen dismissed for 16 runs after 17 deliveries

Sunrisers Hyderabad celebrate during their Indian Premier League match against the Delhi Daredevils at Dubai International Stadium on April 25, 2014. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Sunrisers Hyderabad celebrate during their Indian Premier League match against the Delhi Daredevils at Dubai International Stadium on April 25, 2014. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

DUBAI // Four months since his international career ended in ignominy, Kevin Pietersen’s new life as a freelance Twenty20 globetrotter started much the same way – losing at the hands of Australians.

The former England batsman was captaining Delhi Daredevils for the first time since recovering from a finger injury and playing his first match of any sort since the 5-0 Ashes defeat.

Watching David Warner and Aaron Finch, Sunrisers Hyderabad’s resident Australians, smash what proved to be a winning score may have felt like a recurring nightmare for him.

They shared an unbroken stand worth 128 to take Sunrisers to 184 for one from their 20 overs at Dubai’s International Cricket Stadium. It proved to be just beyond Delhi.

But even in defeat, Pietersen’s demeanour seemed to suggest he was just happy to be back out on the field playing cricket.

He smiled his way through the post-match television interview, while his teammate Quinton de Kock said he has been nothing but chipper the whole time.

That sort of contradicts the previous reports from England of him being nothing but chippy.

“He is very chilled, actually,” De Kock said of Pietersen’s method of leadership. “I think he is a very nice guy, one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.

“That’s how he captains also. The way he talks is very soft and when he captains he just tells you what he is thinking. He is a quality captain, I think.”

The Australian-inspired victory gave Hyderabad their first points in IPL 2014 after their slow start in the UAE.

VVS Laxman, the Sunrisers mentor, hopes the uplifting win will be the start of a resurgence for a side who boast an enviable bowling line up to go with a top three of Shikhar Dhawan, Finch and Warner.

“It’s a long campaign, even if it is over in two months. There are a lot of matches,” said Laxman, the former India batsman.

“Every match, you have to turn up and play as well as you can and keep improving.

“The good part about our team is that last year also our bowlers did really well, and this year the balance of our batting order is much better.

“We are not relying on one or two batsmen. We have got some excellent domestic talent and we have some excellent batsmen up the order, so the balance is really good for any conditions.”

pradley@thenational.ae

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