VVS Laxman has stated that Manish Pandey is peaking at the right time as many overseas players will depart due to their World Cup commitments and even the playoffs are nearing. Pandey had played an unbeaten knock of 83 runs in 49 balls in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s encounter against Chennai Super Kings.
Manish Pandey had played five innings for Sunrisers Hyderabad before the match against Chennai Super Kings on April 23. The 29-year-old only had 54 runs in those innings but roared back to form with a 49-ball 83 in the encounter against CSK. However, SRH and Indian Premier League’s second highest run-scorer this season, Jonny Bairstow has departed in order to prepare for the upcoming World Cup in England and Wales. The top-run scorer David Warner, among other players, is also set to leave. This puts the onus of the business end of the tournament on the Indian players, and the SRH mentor VVS Laxman feels that Pandey has come back to form at the right time.
"I think Manish striking form at the right moment augurs well, because this is the time we will start losing some of our internationals to World Cup camps. This is a glorious opportunity for our experienced Indian players to make their presence felt," he said, reported TOI.
In the encounter at Chepauk, the Sunrisers had put up a fine total of 175 runs on the slow pitch in the humid Chennai conditions. But Shane Watson, ably supported by Suresh Raina’s quickfire 38, played a phenomenal knock of 96 runs in 53 deliveries to snatch away the game from SRH. It anyways seemed like the match is done and dusted as CSK only required 16 off 17 deliveries, with seven wickets in hand. However, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Khaleel Ahmed did not give an inch and the tally had come down to nine off six overs.
There was a lot of drama as CSK had lost the wicket of Ambati Rayudu too, but eventually won the match with one ball remaining. Similarly, the Sunrisers lost another game with one ball remaining, against Kings XI Punjab on April 8. The 114-run partnership between Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul for the second wicket had taken away the match from SRH, and Laxman was left disappointed to finish on the other side in such close contests.
"Tuesday night's defeat at the hands of Chennai Super Kings with one ball to spare was the second time this season that Sunrisers Hyderabad were on the wrong side of the result in a tight finish. We had lost to Kings XI Punjab, also with one ball to spare. One of the reasons for this is that we haven't been able to break threatening partnerships at the opportune time. If it was KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal who thwarted us in Mohali, then it was the turn of Shane Watson and Suresh Raina to do likewise in Chennai,” explained the 44-year-old.
The designated skipper of SRH Kane Williamson had only played four matches for the side this season, as he missed a few games due to injury. Thereby, the vice-captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar has led the side in the other six games. After leading his side in a victorious game against Kolkata Knight Riders, the New Zealand skipper was once again unavailable, and Laxman disclosed that he had departed due to personal reasons.
"It was refreshing and encouraging to see Manish Pandey back himself and produce a superb innings in the absence of Kane Williamson, who had sadly to rush back to New Zealand following the demise of his grandmother," he signed off.
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