“He had fair time out of game”: Delhi Capital’s coach defends Nortje after defeat to Rajasthan Royals

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Jaipur: Following Delhi Capitals’ defeats in two games on a trot, bowling coach James Hopes stated that they need to tidy up our middle over batting and expressed confidence that skipper Rishab Pant will come up with special innings in the coming matches.

The coach defended star pacer Anrich Nortje’s performance in a match against Rajasthan Royals on Thursday.
Delhi Capitals suffered their second consecutive loss in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024, suffering a defeat against Rajasthan Royals by 12 runs at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Thursday. The home side put up 185/5 in their 20 overs and then restricted the Delhi Capitals to 173/5.

Nortje looked undercooked on his comeback, being smacked for 48 runs in four overs. Rajasthan all-rounder Riyan Parag hammered Nortje for 25 runs in his penultimate over, giving RR a fighting total to defend with his stunning 84* off just 45 balls. Hopes defended that Nortje had spent a significant amount of time away from the game and should not be evaluated based on only four overs.

“I won’t say too much bad about the bowlers. They just tried to execute. It was a good first half with the ball but got away from us a little bit in the last five years. It’s the first time that Nortje has been at this level in a while. He had a fair time out of the game, but if you look at all the numbers, he is one of the premier death bowlers in the game. We trust that he is going to keep getting better,” Delhi Capitals’ bowling coach James Hopes said in an official statement by DC.

The pacer has not played for South Africa since September 2023, when he was healing from a stress fracture in his back, which caused him to miss the ODI World Cup, India’s tour of South Africa, and the SA20 League. “With the bat, we started really well, we were in front of the game, and then fell away a little bit in the middle. They bowled 10 overs of death bowling pretty much at us, and executed it well,” he further highlighted.

Hopes said that DC wanted to focus on specific aspects of the game, one of which was their middle-overs hitting.
When asked about his early assessments and improvement areas for the team, Hopes said, “We need to tidy up what we do at the end of the game. It’s one game, I don’t even count the first game because we had to take a bowler out to get an extra batter in and then Ishant went down, so I’m not going to judge us too harshly on one game.”

“We need to tidy up our middle over batting too. We tend to get stuck a little bit in phases there. We know the fix for that is Rishabh Pant. He has played two games after a long layoff and I think you’re going to see some pretty special things from him in the next few weeks,” he concluded. The Delhi Capitals will take on Chennai Super Kings in their next game at the ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.

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