New Delhi: Delhi Daredevils captain Kevin Pietersen on Monday attributed batting collapse towards the end of his side`s innings for their four-wicket loss in their IPL match against table toppers Kings XI Punjab here.
"Incredibly tough to get over that one. Our strength has been our batting in the last five-six overs, but it just wasn`t meant to be. Hopefully, we can finish well in the remaining matches. Today was a team effort," he said after the match.
Delhi were 140 for 2 in the 17th over but lost five wickets for the addition of just 24 runs to end their innings at 164 for 7 in 20 overs.
Punjab captain George Bailey agreed and said that Delhi could have put up a bigger score.
"I thought they got a better start than they should have, they were probably under par but only just," he said.
Explaining his decision to demote himself to number seven in the batting order, Bailey said, "I wanted to keep the left-right combination going, especially as there was a short boundary on one side."
Man of the Match Akshar Patel, who scored a crucial 42 not out to take Punjab home and also returned with impressive bowling figures of 1/18 off his four overs, said he was happy that he could perform in pressure situations.
"If you want to play cricket for a long time, you have to perform in the pressure situations. I have told the captain that I don`t mind bowling at any stage of the innings, I want to prove myself here," Patel said.
After today`s win, Punjab remained on top top with 18 points from 11 matches while Delhi continued to languish at the bottom with four points from 12 matches.
Earlier, Delhi batsman Dinesh Karthik struck a 44-ball 69 to help the hosts manage 164 for seven.
Delhi could have made a bigger score but they lost their last five wickets for the addition of just 24 runs as they were 140 for two in the 17th over.
Put into bat, Delhi did not have the best of starts after opener Murali Vijay (5) was scalped by Sandeep Sharma for five in the third over.
Skipper Kevin Pietersen (49 off 32 balls) then took it upon himself to get quick runs for Delhi in the powerplays. The Englishman was harsh on Hendricks as he smashed the left-arm pacer for two fours and a six to help Delhi get 18 runs in the fourth over.
The hard-working Dinesh Karthik also got going with a few boundaries that prompted Punjab think-tank to introduce left-arm spinner Akshar Patel in the sixth over.
Combining the right dose of caution and aggression, the second-wicket partnership gained momentum with each passing over and the Pietersen-Karthik duo took Delhi score to 71 for one till the first drinks break after the eight over.
Punjab skipper George Bailey continued to juggle his bowling options and Patel`s left-arm spin got dangerman Pietersen, whose knock was laced with six fours and a six, back in the dug out to break the 71-run partnership.
After keeping KP quite in the first couple of deliveries, Patel deceived the captain`s outside edge to rattle the middle and off stump and was a wicket maiden.
Joined by new-man JP Duminy, Karthik continued to get runs as Delhi got to the 100-run mark in the 14th over. The wicketkeeper-batsman punished the Punjab bowlers to all parts of the ground en route to his fourth half-century this season.
But Duminy (17), who tried to replicate Karthik`s aggressiveness, was holed out at wide long-on by Glenn Maxwell while attempting a big hit off Hendricks. The third-wicket partnership though got Delhi 56 runs. Maxwell soon took another catch to dismiss Kedar Jadhav for nought off Sandeep.
Mayank Agarwal raised some hopes of a full-on attack in the final three overs by belting Sandeep for a huge six but was bowled next ball while attempting a reverse sweep.
Karthik, hitting seven fours and three sixes in his crucial knock, also failed to go for the kill in the end as he went after Hendricks in the 19th over only to get out.
Hendricks struck for the third time in his spell and second in the over to send Wayne Parnell out for two as Punjab checked Delhi in the final overs. The final over off Patel yielded just five runs.