Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Manish Pandey, who put up a jaw-dropping performance with the bat on Thursday, revealed that, earlier in the season, he was being eaten up by thoughts, and batting with a clear mind helped him thrive on the day. From 16/2, Pandey struck a counter-attacking 83* to take SRH home.
For years - if not a whole decade - Manish Pandey’s IPL career has been filled with frustration. Far too often he’s shown promise, only to let himself and his side down just at the wrong moment. The first half of this season, too, was a familiar tale for the Karnataka man whose fifties were sandwiched between a bulk of single-digit scores. But on Thursday in Dubai, the 31-year-old played a contender for the knock of the season to remind people why he’s rated so highly.
Walking in at 4/1 - which soon became 16/2 - chasing 155, Pandey counter-attacked Rajasthan right from ball one and bulldozed his way to an exceptional half-century. In his 47-ball stay at the middle, the right-hander struck 4 fours and 8 humongous sixes which blunted the RR bowling attack just at the right time. Eventually, he finished on 83* and, for the first time this season, ensured that he took his side over the line.
Speaking post match, Pandey, who was rightfully named Man of the Match for his efforts, revealed that the secret of success on the day was batting with a clear mind.
"Enough talks had happened around the middle order. High time for us to perform. Had a word with Laxman sir and the coaches. Didn't want too many thoughts. Just hold my shape and play my shots. Two really good batsmen that we lost, but as someone said, this was an opportunity for us to win the game. And it was long due,” Pandey said in the post-match presentation.
Pandey walked in to bat in the midst of a fiery Jofra Archer spell, but thankfully for both him and SRH, the aggression did not last long, as Steve Smith took the Englishman off the attack after the third over. The Karnataka man revealed that the plan was to see off the Archer threat and take on the spinners in the middle, which both himself and Vijay Shankar did with utmost perfection. The duo put on an unbeaten 140-run stand to take SRH home with almost two overs to spare.
“Our plan was to see Jofra off even if he had bowled a third. We had two leggies and a couple of Indian fast bowlers to go after. I just middled the first ball, and automatically I thought if I keep my shape and use the Powerplay, I could finish this well before the final over."
Sunrisers, with the win, climbed up to 5th spot in the table. They are also the only side outside MI, DC and RCB to have a positive NRR.