Hardik Pandya, the hard-hitting all-rounder of Mumbai Indians, has appreciated the duo of Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson as Rajasthan defeated Mumbai Indians by 8 wickets.
Chasing a giant total of 196, Mumbai took the wickets of opener Robin Uthappa and skipper Steve Smith inside the powerplay. However, Ben Stokes, yet to make any significant contributions with the bat this season launched a counter-attack on the Mumbai bowlers. Sanju Samson well supported the left-hander at the other end. Samson himself was in a rut of form after his twin fifties in Sharjah at the start of the season.
Their skills that worked for them: Hardik Pandya
After setting his eye, Samson too joined Stokes and hammered the MI bowlers to all parts of the ground. Stokes notched up his second IPL ton and Samson his third fifty of the season as both the batters made a mockery of MI’s huge total.
Credit goes to Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson, and they really batted well: Hardik Pandya
Batting first MI looked to finish with a par score when Kieron Pollard got out in the 13th over at the score of 101. But, their superstar finisher, Hardik Pandya came in and starting smashing the Royals’ bowlers. He calculated his innings really well- safely playing out Jofra Archer in the 19th over, smashing Ankit Rajpoot in the 18th and Kartik Tyagi in the 20th over, taking each for 27 runs, catapulting MI’s total to 195.
In the post-match press conference, Hardik said he enjoyed hitting sixes and felt MI had enough runs to defend. He credited Stokes and Samson for their fantastic innings. He said that they have to give credit to both the Royals batsman and there was nothing much their bowlers could have done. Along with being audacious, Hardik believes luck was on RR’s side, as plenty of edges went to the boundary line.
In the post-match press conference, Hardik Pandya said, “Obviously, hitting sixes was fun and I enjoyed it. I thought we got enough runs, initially… when the second strategic time-out happened we were looking more at 165-170. Obviously, we got 25 runs more which I thought was enough but credit goes to Stokes and Sanju… they really batted well.”
“Sometimes, you have to give credit to the opposition as well. I feel that they really batted well, bowlers didn’t have much to do, it was their skills that worked for them. I think they took their chances and I think even luck was on their side, multiple inside and outside edges which went to the boundary, having said that they still played some outstanding shots, I don’t think our bowlers had many options,” he added.
Even after the loss, MI still sits comfortably at the top of the points table as Delhi and Bangalore lost their matches as well. They will face Royal Challengers Bangalore in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.