Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) beat the Delhi Capitals (DC) by five wickets in their Indian Premier League (IPL) game, but more than the loss, it was how DC dished out a pitch that suited the away team more surprised all. And speaking after the game, head coach Ricky Ponting revealed how the curator had made the team believe that this was their best wicket.
"I thought they bowled smartly on that wicket. That wicket surprised us a lot. Talking to the groundsmen before the game, he thought that was our best pitch. By far and away it was our worst. You saw how little it bounced and how slow it was. I thought their bowlers adapted well to the conditions.
"They have very skilful bowlers in those conditions as they bowl knuckleballs and slower balls. Nabi also did a good job for them in the powerplay. We knew we needed to get off to a good start and unfortunately, we didn't do that. We got some work to do. This is our home ground and we need to learn to play in these conditions better than the opposition. We definitely have to improve," he said.
But Ponting went on to add that while nobody would want to play SRH on a wicket like the one on Thursday, the home team will also need to adapt accordingly and the team composition will have to be done keeping in mind the low and slow Kotla wicket.
"At the end of the day, it is the same pitch for both teams. But, if you ask me would I want to play Sunrisers on that type of pitch, that wicket absolutely suits them down to the ground. They have great spinners and all their seamers bowl slower balls. And if you bowl slower balls on this wicket, it is not possible to hit.
"But if the wickets are going to be like this, we need to think about our selection as well. Maybe our bowlers weren't best suited to that wicket. It wasn't as we expected, it wasn't what the groundsmen told us it will be," he rued.
Ponting also felt that the batsmen needed to apply themselves better on a slow wicket where the ball wasn't really coming onto the bat.
"The shot selections did cost us right from the start. I don't think Prithvi Shaw played a great shot considering how low the ball was bouncing. Some of our other senior players probably didn't bat long into the innings either. One-thirty was short of what we were expecting. Even on a slow wicket, we expect our batting group to get 160-165 when we bat first. We need to talk about that and find a solution," he said.
Asked if he was himself feeling the heat as coach after two losses in two games, Ponting said: "I haven't spoken to the owners after this loss. We have had a few new coaches coming in. Everything around the team has been positive. I think on the back of our first four games, everything deserved to be positive.
"We all have to find ways to get better. We are all in this together. As a coaching group, we need to ensure that our team is better prepared."
Ponting added that if there was one positive in the game against SRH, it was the way the bowlers fought back after Jonny Bairstow got Hyderabad off to a flyer.
"I can't blame the bowlers because we just didn't have runs on the board and I think we did a good job to drag the game as much as we did. The fightback from the end of the SRH powerplay till the end of the game was the way that I expect our team to play," he added.