Mumbai Indians all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who struck match-winning 40 not out off 30 against Punjab Kings on Tuesday, has credited Mohammed Shami for 'waking him up' with a bouncer which hit him on his arm. Pandya partnered for 45 runs with Kieron Pollard and smashed a six to finish the match.
The struggling 27-year-old, who could not feature in his team's opening two matches of the UAE leg, looked in his elements at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabu, hitting 4 cracking boundaries and 2 gigantic sixes. The Gujarat-born cricketer finished off the match by hitting a six over long-on and Punjab's Deepak Hooda.
However, the going was not that easy for Hardik early on in his innings. The hard-hitting batsman, at the end of 16th over was batting on an individual score of 12 from 16 balls. On the first ball of the 17th over, a short ball from Mohammed Shami hit Hardik flush on his arms and that according to the batsman was the moment which woke him up. Later, Hardik hit a six and four on the third and fourth ball of the same over. Shami was at the receiving end in the 19th over again. Hardik hit two fours and a six this time to finish off the match with one over to spare.
“To be honest, I will give credit to Shami as well because the ball which I got hit woke me up. I also told Kieron Pollard the same. It changed things for me actually, because I was finding it difficult before that,” Hardik said in a clip posted on the Twitter handle of IPL
“I try to make sure that every opportunity is a new opportunity. You can be the hero or you can contribute in a way that your team can win. I have always been the kind of cricketer who has seen the ball and played. I forget what has happened on the previous ball and then make sure that I give my 100% when the next ball arrives,” he added.
With the 6-wicket win, Mumbai climbed to the fifth spot on the 8-team IPL points table and kept their playoff chances alive. The defending champions next face IPL 2020 runners-up Delhi Capitals (DC) on Saturday.