The Delhi-based franchise had last reached the playoffs seven years ago. But after that there was a steep decline in their performance for the next six seasons. In 2013 and 2014, DC (which was then Delhi Daredevils) finished at the bottom of the points table. In 2015, the Delhi franchise ended their campaign at the seventh spot and in the next two years, they moved to a slightly more respectable sixth position.
In 2018, Delhi Daredevils had a nightmarish campaign as Gautam Gambhir stepped down in the middle of the tournament after the team had a poor start. Iyer was made the captain but he could not reverse the team’s fortune and again they finished last in the points table.
However, on Sunday, Delhi defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by 16 runs, here at the Feroz Shah Kotla to make it to the playoffs.
“This is an amazing feeling. Before the start of the tournament we wanted to qualify, so we are really satisfied and happy now that we have qualified,” Iyer said in the post-match presentation ceremony.
Iyer further said one of the things that has worked for his team is not to interfere with the game plans of both batsmen and bowlers.
“It’s really important to let the bowlers do their job and not interfere, same is the case with the batsmen. In every game, individuals have chipped in with handy contributions and taken the team over the line,” he said.
He said that before the start of the tournament, the team was termed as underdogs and now, that they have proved everyone wrong, they are really happy. “We were termed as the underdogs before the start of the tournament and before the start of every match we think the same.”
Despite sitting pretty at the top of the table with 16 points, the DC skipper said his team will play with the same intensity in the remaining matches and will go for the kill. “We are going to maintain the same intensity and mindset for the rest of the tournament,” he said.
Earlier, winning the toss and batting first, Delhi rode on fifties by Shikhar Dhawan and Iyer to post a challenging 187/5 in their 20 overs. The hosts finished on a high, amassing 60 runs in the last five overs.
In reply, RCB managed to score 171/7 as the Delhi boys recorded their eighth win to take their tally to 16 points from 12 games.
RCB skipper Virat Kohli admitted that the visitors gave too many runs towards the end, which ultimately cost them the game.
“It was a very important one (toss) especially with how the wicket played. We showed a lot of character even after losing the toss, but it got away a little bit in the end. We were thinking 160-165 but 185 on that sort of a pitch, with three spinners, was always going to be tough,” said Kohli after the match.
With RCB now out of the contention to make it to the playoffs, Kolhi wants his team to enjoy and come out with positive cricket in their remaining two matches.
“The important thing now, with two games left, is to go out there and have fun. Not take too much pressure. Obviously we want to perform as best as we can, but the fun factor should not go away,” he said.
“We put ourselves under too much pressure in the first six games and then it is always hard work in the latter half. We have to go out there and play positive cricket. Once the last two games are done, sit down and see where the tournament goes,” he added.