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Delhi Capitals bowler Anrich Nortje celebrates with captain Rishabh Pant during the Indian Premier League 2024 match against Rajasthan Royals on March 28, 2024.
| Photo Credit: AP

Delhi Capitals bowling coach James Hopes feels that the team’s under-fire pace spearhead Anrich Nortje will get better with time having recently made a comeback to competitive cricket after six months.

Nortje was taken to the cleaners by Rajasthan Royals’ Riyan Parag at the death as he went for 48 in his four overs on March 28.

Rajasthan Royals won the IPL match by 12 runs while defending 185 for 5.

Nortje had been out of cricket since September and came into IPL having played just three domestic T20 games earlier this month and failed to nail the yorkers or bowl the hard lengths that he is known for.

“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,” Hopes said after his team’s 12-run loss to RR, where the complexion changed during the last part of their bowling innings.

“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,” Hopes, a former Australia medium pacer said defending the Proteas pacer.

Hopes also felt that just like bowling, the team’s batting also came apart in the back-10 after a positive start.

“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.”

Hopes assessed that the end game is a problem in both departments after the first two defeats.

“We need to tidy at 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 (Sharma) went down, so I’m not going to judge us too harshly on one game.” The batting in the middle overs will largely depend on how comeback man Rishabh Pant fares.

“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,” Hopes said.

“He has played two games after a long lay-off and I think you’re going to see some pretty special things from him in the next few weeks,” he concluded.

Delhi Capitals will take on Chennai Super Kings in their next game at the ACA–VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam on March 31.

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