Veteran batsman Simon Katich has blamed poor and inadequate preparation for Perth Scorchers' lacklustre Champions League campaign which ran out of steam at Newlands yesterday.
The Scorchers sputtered to 5-121 against a Delhi team strong enough to make David Warner 12th man before the Daredevils stumbled several times in reaching the target with two balls to spare.
Nathan Rimmington was the vill- ain in the nail-biting finish after he spilled Virender Sehwag over the third man boundary to reprieve the flamboyant opener and give Delhi a bonus six runs.
Rimmington quickly snared two wickets but he was struck for two boundaries in the final over of the run chase as Delhi reached 7-123.
Katich said the Scorchers had failed to reproduce the level of performance that took them to the final of last summer's Big Bash.
"We did not prepare as well as we should have and we have paid the price," he said.
"I am not going to go into details but we got what we deserved."
Katich's stinging criticism comes after WA's mediocre start to the interstate season which has placed considerable pressure on rookie coach Lachlan Stevens and his new support staff.
Stevens, assistant coach Adam Griffith, fitness trainer Steve Smith and physio Nick Jones are part of the Scorchers travelling party but have overseen a team that was thrashed by the Titans in the opening fixture, washed out against Kolkata and then lost yesterday.
The bowling attack kept Perth in the match, and nearly pinched it, after Katich (39 off 33 balls) and opener Shaun Marsh (39 off 41) provided a solid platform for the middle order to produce a winning score.
But the Scorchers fell well short of the score of 140 that Katich identified as the target his team should have defended.
Mitch Marsh threatened briefly but Perth's lack of a dominant Twenty20 figure was exposed.
Perth's second loss of the tournament leaves them unable to qualify for the semifinals and facing a dead-rubber match against Auckland at Centurion tomorrow.
Once Herschelle Gibbs had subdued his home crowd by edging his first delivery from countryman Morne Morkel into his stumps, the Scorchers were unable to generate enough momentum on the hard and bouncy pitch.
Opener Shaun Marsh was committed and sold his wicket dearly but his timing regularly misfired.
Only Mitch Marsh, who replaced his brother with six overs to go, had the power to rock Delhi but his innings (18 off 20) was too brief to change the game.
Medium-pacer Joe Mennie's decision to choose Perth Scorchers over South Australia was vindicated when he claimed the prize scalp of Mahela Jayawardene in his first over and added rising star Unmukt Chand in his next.
When Michael Beer snared Pietersen in his first over, being rele- gated from the new-ball role for the first time since January, Delhi had slipped to 3-45.
Beer soon struck again when Ross Taylor played around a straight delivery but Sehwag kept a cool head to provide the framework for Delhi's successful chase.
Irfan Pathan swung the ball in the overcast conditions but it was his partner Morkel who made the significant breakthrough when Gibbs fell in the second over.
Playing in front of his home crowd, Gibbs had received rousing receptions for arriving at the ground, walking onto the field and for flicking Pathan into the fine leg crowd in the opening over.
But he departed in silence after seven balls while Morkel finished with two more wickets to have 3-19 from his four overs.