‘We bowled well, I liked what I saw’: Hardik Pandya on MI bowlers despite record 277-run hammering by SRH in IPL 2024 | Cricket

Hardik Pandya sported a smile right throughout the post-match interaction with Ian Bishop and Kevin Pietersen after Mumbai Indians lost to the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Whether that was a forceful attempt to hide the nervousness stemming from back-to-back defeats at the start of IPL 2024 that too on his maiden captaincy stint with the Mumbai Indians is debatable but one can’t doubt Hardik for being underconfident. He of course can’t be unaware of the backlash that he is receiving on social media and on the ground – he was booed in Ahmedabad and Hyderabad in MI’s first two games – but his care-not demeanour gives little away.

Hardik Pandya during the post-match interview after losing to SRH(IPL)
Hardik Pandya during the post-match interview after losing to SRH(IPL)

It has been a difficult few months for Hardik. Coming back from a long injury layoff, criticised for not playing domestic cricket and the trolls that came after he moved to MI from Gujarat Titans and took over from Rohit Sharma as their new captain was bound to take a toll on anybody. But not on Hardik, at least that’s the impression his body language gives.

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His words too are in sink with his body language. Despite conceding 277/3, the most by any team in the history of IPL, he said he “liked” what he saw of the MI bowling attack.

Jasprit Bumrah was the only MI bowler who went under 10 runs an over on Tuesday as Abhishek Sharma (63 off 23), Travis Head (62 off 24) and Heinrich Klaasen (80 off 34) ran riot at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium. But Hardik said the MI bowlers were good and there was very little they could do on a placid batting track.

“Not really (thought SRH would score 277 at the toss). The wicket was good, 277 no matter how bad or good you bowl, if the opposition has to score that much, that means they have batted well. They (the bowlers) were good, it was tough out there, almost 500 runs were scored and the wicket was helping the batters, we could have done a few things here and there, but having said that, we have a young bowling attack, not that experienced so I like what I saw today,” Hardik said.

Hardik Pandya backs young Kwena Maphaka

Hardik was full of praise for 17-year-old South Africa pacer Kwena Maphaka who went for 66 runs on his IPL debut. “He (Kwena Maphaka) was fantastic, coming into his first game and getting overwhelmed, he was alright and backed his skillset, just needs some game time,” Pandya said.

Chasing a record 278 for win, the MI batters did not throw in the towel. Rohit Sharma (26 off 12) and Ishan Kishan (34 off 13) gave the five-time champions a blazing start before Tilak Varma smashed 64 off 34 balls to keep MI on par with the required rate. But the experience of the SRH pacers – Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Pat Cummins and Jaydev Unadkat – came to the fore towards the death overs. Bhuvi, Cummins and Unadkat did not give any pace to the MI batters and despite a 22-ball 42-run effort from Tim David, MI fell short by 31 runs.

“Tilak, Ro, Kishan, Tim everyone batted really well. I think it’s just a matter of a few things here and there and we will be alright,” Hardik said when he was asked about the batting display of MI.


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