IPL-2021: Mumbai Indians beat Punjab Kings by 6 wickets at Abu Dhabi
IPL 2021: Hardik Pandya’s quickfire 40 crucial for MI and his own confidence, says Rohit Sharma
IPL 2021: Hardik Pandya showed signs of a return to form with a 30-ball 40 not out that helped Mumbai Indians outclass Punjab Kings in Match 42 the season in Abu Dhabi. Rohit Sharma also opened up on Ishan Kishan’s exclusion from the side.
Put into bat first, Punjab posted a score of 135 runs for the loss of six wickets in the stipulated 20 overs with help of Aiden Markram’s 42 off 29 balls. For Mumbai, Kieron Pollard and Jasprit Bumrah took two wickets each.
Earlier, Mumbai win the toss and elected to bowl first.
In an another match of the day, Kolkata Knight Riders were beat Delhi Capitals by three wickets at Sharjah. Delhi put the target for Kolkata 0f 128 runs, in response Knight Riders scored 130 runs for Seven wickets in 18.2 overs.
Today Rajasthan Royals will take on Royal Challengers Banglore at Dubai International Stadium, Dubai at 7.30 PM IST.
Hardik Pandya showed glimpses of a return to form as he pulled off one of his trademark chases against Punjab Kings in Match 42 of IPL 2021 in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. Hardik hit a 30-ball 40 as Mumbai gunned down 136 in 19 overs and kept their hopes of reaching the play-offs alive.
Hardik was under considerable pressure as he was not bowling for Mumbai Indians and big runs eluding him since the start of 2021. Hardik had not hit a single 50-plus score in any cricket since the start of IPL 2021 in India earlier this year. His place in the T20 World Cup squad was being questioned but the MI all-rounder put a full stop to the outside noise with a calculated assault against Punjab Kings.
Hardik Pandya joined Saurabh Tiwary when MI were in a spot of bother in a tricky chase of 136 on a slowing pith in Abu Dhabi. He looked scratchy at the start of the innings and even got a reprieve when PBKS spinner Harpreet Brar put him down on 7.
However, Hardik made full use of the extra opportunity and accelerated in the death, hitting 2 sixes and 4 boundaries for a 30-ball 40 not out. He joined hands with Kieron Pollard and stitched a quickfire 45-run stand to help MI past the finish line.
“The way he (Hardik) batted, the way he understood the situation was very crucial from the team’s perspective and then obviously for his confidence as well. He took his time and then he knew when to start hitting the ball. It’s important for him to spend some time in the middle. He is coming back from an injury. That was crucial,” Rohit Sharma said.
Mumbai Indians jumped from the 7th spot to 5th, tied on points with 4th-placed Kolkata Knight Riders who defeated Delhi Capitals earlier in the day. MI had to make some difficult changes as they dropped young Ishan Kishan and included Saurabh Tiwary following the wicketkeeper’s poor run of form in the ongoing season.
“We do agree that we didn’t play to our potential, but it’s a long tournament and we need to stick to our plans and reading the situations is very important and we can take a lot of confidence from that. Important not to lose the guard,” Rohit said.
Saurabh Tiwary, who had hit a fifty against CSK earlier this month, repaid the faith the management showed in him by hitting an important 45 with which he controlled the innings after Ravi Bishnoi got the wickets of Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav in successive deliveries in the powerplay.
Speaking on Ishan Kisan’s exclusion, Rohit reiterated that it was a tough call to make.
“It’s a tough call (dropping Ishan) and he seems very confident and the reply you get from him was very boosting as well. Saurabh has played the perfect role today and he’s done well to nudge around in the middle overs. We are gonna back him as he’s a very important player for us,” Rohit added.