Rohit Sharma has stated that Hardik Pandya wanted to prove a point with both the bat and all. Hardik was making a return to competitive cricket in this IPL and has done justice to his all-rounder tag by making valuable contributions with the ball while playing a few aggressive knocks.
In the encounter between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers on Monday, Hardik Pandya once again fired in the death overs to take his team home.
The all-rounder smashed 37 runs in 16 balls and ensured that his team sailed through with an over still left. Even with respect to his bowling, he dismissed Moeen Ali while only giving away 21 runs in three overs. The World Cup-bound India all-rounder has been in fine form in this edition of the Indian Premier League, and this is very crucial for him, as he came in without much game time due to his injuries and controversy. In the eight matches until now, the elder Pandya sibling has scored 186 runs at a strike rate of nearly
“His (Hardik) hitting has been helping the team and him as well, to move forward. This is something he wanted to do because he didn't have a lot of time before coming to the IPL. So he wanted to prove a point with bat and ball, to himself than anyone else,” expressed Sharma, at the post-match presentation ceremony, reported PTI.
“The way he is hitting it gives us confidence as a team that there is someone who can hit that well at the end and win crucial games,” he added.
Lasith Malinga, the veteran pacer who was purchased in this year’s auction for his base price of Rs.2 crores, after being snubbed last year, has turned the pages with his fine display with death bowling. The ‘slinger’, who was awarded the Man of the Match award, was playing in his fourth match overall, but his first after his return from Sri Lanka and he put a screeching halt to RCB’s scoring by scalping four wickets in the 18th and 20th over. The skipper termed the pacer’s form as critical for the team.
“Lasith's performance matters a lot to us. We missed him for a few games. His form is very critical for Mumbai. Trust me, with all that he has done over the years, bowling at the death at the Wankhede is very difficult,” stated the 31-year-old.
Virat Kohli had come in to bat for RCB but was dismissed cheaply in the third over itself, courtesy Jason Behrendorff’s tight line which cramped the superstar batsman. Moeen Ali and AB de Villiers played a nearly hundred run partnership, but none of the other batsmen could score against the MI bowling line-up. The skipper credited his bowlers for restricting the famed RCB batting lineup to just 171.
“Credit goes to the bowlers in general for restricting a good RCB batting line-up to 170 odd,” remarked the India ODI vice-captain.
"The pitch at Wankhede has always been a flat track, but it has behaved differently in the last few matches, as the batting has become difficult. The skipper, who himself hails from Mumbai, and has played here all his life, has stated that he is yet to figure out the pitch in the current season.
“To be honest, I still haven't figured out the pitch here this season. Normally it's safe to chase here, but today no one expected it to play this way. If the pitch plays like that I don't want to chase,” signed off Sharma.
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