After having had an injury-laden season with the Delhi Capitals in 2019, all-rounder Harshal Patel has been excellent for the franchise this term, picking up 2 wickets in his first two games so far, and proving to be a reliable fifth bowling option for Shreyas Iyer and Co.
Speaking ahead of Delhi Capitals’ sixth match of the season on Friday at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Harshal said his team’s focus is always on execution regardless of whom they face. “I think every team in the IPL is extremely competitive, and that’s why the quality of cricket is unparalleled. So when it comes to players like Jos Buttler, Steve Smith or (Sanju) Samson, you just have to focus on executing your skill. You do the planning in your team meetings, and when you get onto the field – it’s all about execution,” said Patel.
With figures of 2-34 against KKR in his first match and 0-43 against RCB in his second, Harshal was honest in his self-assessment. He said, “It has been on par – to be honest, last match I felt I could have executed and planned a little better. But these things are part and parcel of the game, and you do get better as you keep playing. So, I’m hopeful I’m going to rectify those mistakes of the last game and continue to deliver the performances that I expect out of myself.”
Commenting on what his team has been focusing on improving ahead of their clash against Rajasthan, Harshal said they want to ensure that small mistakes are closed out. “We’re just talking about how we can get better – even though the last game we put on quite a clinical performance but the conversation has always been around what else we can do to get better, what else we can do to close out the small mistakes that we’re making.”
“We just want to get better as the tournament progresses. Everyone who’s been around in the IPL knows that the second half of IPL is one of the most difficult parts of the tournament. So we don’t want to get complacent, don’t want to relax – we just want to keep our focus and try to get better by putting in the efforts,” added the right arm medium pacer.
Having been a part of a high-scoring encounter at Sharjah already, Harshal reckoned the margin for error will again be very little on Friday against Rajasthan. He said, “Whenever you’re playing in a high-scoring game, you just have to be on top of your game all 24 balls that you bowl. The margin for error is very little, and at the same time you know that it’s going to be a high-scoring game – so it does take a little bit of pressure off of you, because you know everybody’s going to go for runs.”
“So you can be a little more relaxed in terms of your approach towards the game and just focus on executing whatever the batsman does – if he hits you off a good length, then you just have to accept that and move on,” added the 29-year-old.
With eight points from their five matches so far, Delhi Capitals look poised to have a top of the table clash with Mumbai Indians on Sunday, but Harshal says his team is focused on performances in each match and don’t want to look too far ahead. “It’s too early to talk about the Mumbai Indians game, because we have one more match (against Rajasthan) before that, and the points table is always going to be dynamic. All we have to focus on as a team is how we are preparing and how we’re executing our skills on the field. And if we take care of that aspect, then the points table is going to take care of itself.”
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