New Delhi:Missing key players and off to a disastrous start, Delhi Daredevils captain Gautam Gambhir says he, along with senior batsman Virender Sehwag, will have to shoulder the entire responsibility of steering the team to Champions League Twenty20's next stage.
Victoria Bushrangers put up a clinical performance on Friday night to beat Daredevils by seven wickets in the low-scoring opening Group D match on a slow Feroz Shah Kotla wicket.
And Gambhir, who took over the team's captaincy after Sehwag stepped down to focus on his batting, said in the absence of some key players, the onus is on him and his India opening partner to guide the Daredevils in the tournament.
"Obviously, there is responsibility. There is huge responsibility on me and Sehwag when experienced players like (Daniel) Vettori, AB de Villiers and (Paul) Collingwood are not there and we are ready for that," Gambhir told reporters after the defeat.
Boasting of big names like Gambhir, Sehwag, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Owais Shah among other, Daredevils could only manage 98 against a disciplined Victorian bowling.
Gambhir was candid enough to admit that Daredevils batsmen cut a sorry figure against Victoria on Friday.
"We just didn't bat well. We were looking for a score around 130-140 and in the end we felt 30-40 runs short."
"We always knew there will be low bounce in this wicket but the way we started off, we should have made 130-140 which I feel was a match-winning total in this wicket. We just didn't have any partnership," Gambhir said.
He credited Victoria bowlers for their stupendous display on the tricky Kotla track.
"I must say they outplayed us today. They bowled really well and we found it difficult to score runs," Gambhir said.
Asked what the plan was while defending such a small total, Gambhir said, "We thought if we could get some early wickets, we are in the game but that didn't happen.
"The way Quiney batted, he took the game away from us."
Daredevils will next take on unpredictable Sri Lankan domestic Twenty20 champions Wayamba in their second Group D encounter and a defeat in that match will ensure the Delhi side's ouster from the tournament.
"From here on every match is a must win game for us if we want to stay in the competition. The situation is also good for us as we know exactly what to do to stay alive in the tournament. If we play to our potential, we should cross the line in the next game against Wayamba.
"Now we have nothing to lose and hopefully, the next time we get into the field we will put up a much better performance," Gambhir said.
Gambhir also joined New South Wales skipper Simon Katich and Diamond Eagles captain Boeta Dippenaar in criticising the newly-laid Kotla wicket, saying, "It was not ideal to play a Twenty20 game."
Victoria captain Cameron White, meanwhile, lauded his bowlers and fielders for setting up the platform for the win.
"We did really well in bowling and fielding. We executed our plans to perfection. Our fielding, particularly, was outstanding. Sehwag's catch which Clint McKay took of his own bowling was brilliant," White said.
"The wicket wasn't ideal but it wasn't that bad. It was little slow but I feel we adapted to the conditions well," he added.