VISAKHAPATNAM: The only job that Darren Lehmann seems to be destined to do in the IPL is to try and douse the fires. The Hyderabad coach, time and again, has to come out with a smile and paint a ‘rosy’ picture after his team has lost another game. Monday night was no different, though it will be fair to say that his side had their chances till the last ball and went down fighting. Yet, their saga of losses at home venues continues unabated.
“Yeah, it was disappointing to lose such a close game. We worked very hard in all departments of the game and it really showed. We batted well. I think this was the closest we came to a win,” the Australian said after the match.
“Maybe we ended up a bit lesser than we had expected. I had thought it was a 150-odd runs track. But we lost a couple of early wickets and there had to be a lot of hard work to rebuild the innings. I think, in the end, we had enough to defend,” he said.
The man should be applauded for being the most positive person in the IPL. His ability to see something good in the worst situation marks him out. “I am sure the viewership will go up after this game. It was a great exhibition of good T20 cricket,” the former Australian player remarked about the positives from the game.
However, the Hyderabad coach was critical of the Mumbai players on issue of Kumar Sangakkara’s controversial dismissal.
“I think it could have been handled better but with such decisions we can’t do anything. It was disgraceful the way Mumbai captain ( Harbhajan Singh) behaved. The two gentlemen (umpires) were trying to run the game the right way but they were put under pressure,” he said.
Speaking about Dale Steyn and Rohit Sharma, who were the star performers of the night, he said: “Steyn is one of the best fast bowlers of the world. He bowled exceptionally well today. It was a stand-out performance from him. Rohit has played for us before and we know his capabilities. He has been a consistent performer and it was a class act.”
On the final over of the match, the coach said: “We thought we were close. A couple of good balls would have been great but I feel sorry for Christian. If it did go right, it would have been great. But it didn’t.”
Asked if skipper Sangakkara will bat at No.3, he said: “It depends on the wicket and whom we are playing against. We are very flexible with the batting order. Shikhar batted brilliantly to get us the momentum. Later, Christian and White set it up nicely for the bowlers. So, it depends on a lot of factors.”