‘You can’t match Dhoni’: Shami blasts Hardik Pandya’s MI tactic vs GT as Tiwary speculates ‘Sachin Tendulkar’ influence | Cricket

Amid all the attention on Mumbai Indians post the Rohit Sharma era and the homecoming of Hardik Pandya, Gujarat Titans produced a classy show at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, scripting a thrilling in the typical fashion that has defined the 2022 champions over the last two seasons. At one point in the chase, Mumbai required just 48 runs from the last four overs with seven wickets in hand. Yet, the script turned out to be different for the visitors with GT bowlers dishing out 11 dots balls and picked six wickets – almost three run-less overs to help the side script a six-run win.

Did Hardik Pandya look to emulate MS Dhoni during match against GT?
Did Hardik Pandya look to emulate MS Dhoni during match against GT?

The solitary reason behind Mumbai‘s loss was however pinpointed to Hardik‘s batting strategy as the likes of Irfan Pathan, Manoj Tiwary and Mohammed Shami blasted the decision of the captain to bat at No. 7 in the line-up, contrary to his batting position of No. 3 and 4 in the last two IPL season for Gujarat.

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One of reasons behind Hardik earning plaudits from experts and veterans of the game during his GT days was his willingness to take responsibility and lead by example, whether with the ball or with the bat. While he took on the duty to bowl crucial overs during his two-year stint with Gujarat, he pushed himself up the order to bat at No. 3 and 4, often anchoring the knock as well to take the game deep.

However, on Sunday, as the new captain of Mumbai Indians, Hardik walked out at No. 7, where he faced just four deliveries, scoring 11 runs laced with a boundary and a six before being dismissed by Umesh Yadav in the final over.

Former India all-rounder Pathan was baffled at the sight of Tim David being sent ahead of Hardik with an over of Rashid Khan left. He tweeted: “Why Tim David was ahead of Hardik when Rashid khan’s one over was left ? I would choose Indian better than overseas batter any day vs spinner.”

Hardik trying to match Dhoni?

Speaking on MI’s batting strategy on Cricbuzz, Shami, who played under Hardik in the last two seasons for Gujarat, was asked if the all-rounder was looking to follow the Dhoni template wanting to manage things single-handedly in the final stages of the chase, and the veteran India fast-bowler criticised the 30-year-old for not trusting his abilities.

“Dhoni is Dhoni. You cannot match someone else. Everyone has a different mindset, whether it is Dhoni or Kohli. You should stay in the game depending on your skill. You batted at No. 3 and 4 in the last two seasons. You are used to that position. You can at the most bat at No. 5, but not at No. 7,” said Shami, who has been ruled out of the entire IPL 2024 season owing to an ankle injury.

Tiwary, who was part of the panel, who was “baffled” watching Hardik bat at No. 7, interrupted the discussion, reckoning that it probably was a decision made by MI mentor Sachin Tendulkar as he theorised the difference between Mumbai and Gujarat dugouts.

“I feel it wasn’t his call. In Gujarat, I feel, only two people were running the game, Hardik and Nehra. In Mumbai dugout there are some big names present. So probably they might have influenced him to drop down the order because they have invested a lot on young players like Tilak Verma and Brevis. Mark Boucher will obviously listen to Sachin…he will then discuss with other members of the team management and then decide,” he said.


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