In their loss to KKR, Delhi were for the first time without Pietersen, who has flown back home for national duty.
New Delhi: Delhi Daredevils' allrounder Irfan Pathan has called on the middle-order batsmen of his side to fill in the gap left by Kevin Pietersen and also hoped that struggling New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor would soon find his touch. Pietersen has gone back home as England prepare for a home series against the West Indies. He had scored 305 runs from eight innings at an average of 61, striking it at 147.34.
"When Kevin was there, he was performing really well for the [Delhi] Daredevils in the middle-order but now some other batsman needs to put his hand up and perform at his best," Pathan said at the post-match press conference after Delhi lost by six wickets to Kolkata. "We have some wonderful players in the middle order like Ross Taylor. Once he starts firing, you know he is a player to watch out for. He can hit the ball a long way. We have no doubt [that] with every match he plays, he is getting better. Kevin [Pietersen] has done a good job for us but at the same time, it's an opportunity for others to take his place," he added.
Pathan said the loss of both the openers in quick succession and failure of the bowling unit led to the team's defeat at the hands of KKR. "We did not put enough runs on the board. We could have scored 160-plus but that wasn't the case today [Monday]. We lost Virender Sehwag and David Warner around the same time and that put us on [the] back foot. As a bowling unit, we always try to get better with each passing game. We did not perform well and need to bowl better in [the] matches ahead," he said.
Pathan refused to blame the long break between Delhi's two matches for defeat at the home turf. "I don't think so. We have prepared really well. [In the] Last couple of days, our preparation has been wonderful. The guys have been working hard. No matter if we win or lose, we will be consistent with our intensity. There was nothing because of the break, because sometimes breaks are a good thing. We can't blame the break. It's very simple, we just didn't play well. We had some good days in this IPL and we will make sure that from [the] next game, we keep that momentum going," said Irfan, whose 22-ball 36 helped Kolkata to cross the 150-run mark.
The Baroda player admitted that the team wanted to win against KKR more than anything else. "We wanted to win this game the most because we might play KKR again in the tournament. So we had the chance and we wanted to win it, particularly more than any other game. Two quick wickets and no one actually was able to get to a big score," he added.
Talking about the team's fielding, he said, "We keep a check on it. We know it's a long tournament, and once we are into the qualifying round, it will all depend on one match. So we want to make sure we keep ourselves under pressure to maintain the same intensity. When you don't win, a lot of things come out of it. Losing is never a positive thing. There is no issue of complacency as we want to make sure we win all our matches."
On dropping a simple catch of his brother Yusuf Pathan at mid-off, he said, "God! It has happened the second or third time now ... I have already had a chat about the catch with David Warner, but I am sure some more players are going to tease me about it."