Mumbai Indians all-rounder Krunal Pandya, on the back of his side’s dominant win on Sunday, claimed that an ‘in-between’ target like 163 is never easy to chase but lauded the Mumbai batsmen for batting with intent. Pandya claimed that the de Kock-Surya partnership took the game away from DC.
What was built up as the biggest clash of the season yet, due to the two teams being one and two on the table, ended as a pretty drab affair as defending champions Mumbai Indians, in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, dusted aside a seemingly sluggish Capitals unit. The Shreyas Iyer-led side won the toss and opted to bat first, but a conservative approach with the willow meant that 162 was all they could post.
In response, Mumbai lost skipper Rohit Sharma early, but a fine team effort, which saw Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan chip in with valuable contributions, took the team over the line by a convincing five-wicket margin.
Speaking on the back of his side’s win, Krunal Pandya, who bowled a typical Krunal Pandya spell on the night, claimed that the top-order batters did really well to unsettle the Delhi bowlers and chase a ‘tricky’ target.
“A 160 target is always tricky because when you have a 180 target you know you have to go hard or when there’s a 140 target, you know you can take time, but these in-between totals are always tricky. So the powerplay was really important for us - though we lost wickets, it was a really good start. After that, the way Surya and Quinny batted, they never allowed the opposition bowlers to settle,” Krunal said at the post-match press conference.
A target of 163 on a good batting wicket, as admitted by DC skipper Iyer, was 15-20 runs short of par and Krunal, as he’s always done throughout his IPL career, played his hand in applying the chokehold on the opposition. In his spell, the left-armer claimed the prized scalps of Rahane and Iyer, but also conceded just 26 runs, despite bowling to at least one left-hander throughout the innings. The 29-year-old revealed that he was pleased with his execution on the day.
“Happy the way I bowled today. My strength has always been varying the pace and I was able to execute really well, overall. You have to see the batsman’s strength and the situation, what they are trying to do, so overall I was happy with how I bowled today,” said the Baroda all-rounder.
After a shaky start versus CSK on matchday one and after a blip versus RCB in the middle, Mumbai now find themselves top of the table due to playing near-perfect cricket and Krunal acknowledged that the quality of cricket his side has played has been exceptional. The 29-year-old, however, revealed that Mumbai will evaluate what they did right and wrong in the first half of the season to ensure that they have an even more dominant second half.
“The quality of cricket we’ve played in all the games has been really good and now we have a much-deserved four-day break, we’ve done really well. From hereon, we’ll reassess what are the things we’ve done right and we’ll continue doing that and we’ll try to improve where we can improve so that we can come back even stronger in the second half of the season.”