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    Sekar hopes Delhi bat CSK out of IPL 5

    Chennai: Delhi Daredevils mentor TA Sekar on Thursday backed his batsmen, who misfired in the first qualifier, to come good in the do-or-die second qualifier against Chennai Super Kings in search of their maiden final appearance in the Indian Premier League.

    “Last three overs of [the] last match did not go in our favour. Our batting order needs to be assessed and we have done that. In [a] Twenty20 game, it is not a major concern for us since we have a very strong batting line-up. I back all our batsmen and we will surely put up a much better show tomorrow [Friday],” said Sekar.

    His side has been criticised for frequent changes in the batting order, with the likes of Ross Taylor being sent late down the order, but Sekar defended the decision. “In Twenty20, batting order changes frequently. It is not the set order like in [the] Test matches. So we need to change, and in fact every team does it depending on the situations and its demands. [In] Some matches [Chennai captain MS] Dhoni bats at number eight and on occasions he comes at four. That is the order of the day in Twenty20 games.

    “It was one of the odd situations that he [Taylor] has gone to [bat at] number seven because we promoted Pawan Negi to go and get some quick runs, even six-ball 10 or eight-ball 12, and it’s fine even if we lose wickets. Ross is capable of going after the bowlers right from the first ball that he faces,” he said.

    “I always believed that class is permanent and form is temporary. Ross got a 21-ball fifty against Royal Challengers [Bangalore] in Bangalore. He showed his class there and I think he is in a good space and I think he should fire tomorrow [Friday].”

    Asked about Mahela Jayawardene’s batting position, he said, “It depends on the situation and the contest’s demands. We have played him three, four and five in various other matches.”

    Sekar admitted that the home crowd would be a big advantage for Chennai but felt that his side has the wherewithal to beat CSK. “Can you use your influence and shift the match to some other venue? I think, playing Chennai in Chennai, they have the advantage of home crowd support. We need to put up a much better show to beat them. We are confident [of] putting up a good show tomorrow [Friday].” he said.

    “It is a home-away-from-home match [for me]. I know the conditions in Chepauk very well. Wicket looks good. In Twenty20, if the wicket is a rank turner, it does not matter much,” he added. Sekar said the bowling combination would be decided later after looking at the conditions.

    “Our strength has been fast bowling. We have come to this stage mainly because of our bowlers’ performance with support from our batsmen in posting needed runs. In Delhi, we got the [Chennai] Super Kings for 110 [for eight] in 20 overs. It happens in Twenty20 cricket that fast bowlers get hit sometimes. Unfortunately some of the deliveries of Varun Aaron or Umesh Yadav were sent for boundaries. I do not think that these are real areas of concern for us because even spinners can be hit quite freely also. We have just seen the wicket. We will have a core committee meeting and decide.”

    Asked about the mental frame of his players ahead of the match, he said, “In 2009, we had a similar run to [the] knockout stage. One brilliant 35-ball 85 by Adam Gilchrist changed the complexion of the game and we were out of the tournament. Since [the] IPL has changed the format, every team wants to be number one and two, others get another chance and it is our chance tomorrow, and we should grab this and make sure we go to the next level of the tournament,” he said.

    Sekar also confirmed that Irfan Pathan is fit to play on Friday.
    ©PTI

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