The seventh match in the 10th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) witnessed the Pandya brothers making their mark by clinching a thrilling contest against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the second match for Mumbai Indians (MI) in the tournament. It all began with Krunal, who took the crucial wickets of KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir for 19 and Robin Uthappa for 4 and ended with the figures of 3 for 24. Interestingly, two catches off Krunal’s bowling were collected by Hardik. And when it came to chasing, it was time for Hardik to shine and bring glory to MI camp with his brilliant batting in the end.
Hardik came into the scene when MI lost their 5th wicket in the 17th over. After the completion of 17 overs, MI needed 49 from 18, which was surely a herculean task to pull off but Hardik held his nerves and managed to do it. However, he got a good support by Nitish Rana, who played a magnificent knock of 50 from 29. Till the time Rana was with Hardik at the crease, Hardik had already hit 2 sixes and eased the pressure.
In the final over, when MI needed 11, Hardik ensured victory by hitting two fours, although he was dropped once as well. But that does not matter any more as Hardik once again rose for his team when it was needed the most. He scored an unbeaten 29 off 11, including 3 sixes and 2 fours. In the end, it was Hardik, who emerged as the hero but one should forget the contribution done by his brother Krunal as well.
After the match, in an interview with iplT20.com, both the brothers questioned each other in an interactive video and it started by Hardik by asking Krunal, “What was going through your mind when you were given the ball in the fifth over?”
Krunal replied, “I back myself in every game. Usually, on the Wankhede pitch, the ball comes nicely onto the bat and I was looking to vary my pace. Yes, in the last game I didn’t do too well and was going through the motions. I rectified those mistakes and executed my plans today and it went well.”
Hardik also asked about the catches taken by him in Krunal’s bowling. Replying to that, Krunal said, “Definitely because of you. The moment ball went in the air; I knew that it’s safe. It was like 1,2,3 and I felt safe.”
After this, it was Krunal’s turn to question his younger brother and he asked, “Tell me about your batting. How inspired are you?”. Answering to Krunal, Hardik said, “I know you keep on backing me and keep telling me that I can finish the game. So, eventually this was the right opportunity for me to finish the game and get the win for MI.”
Krunal asked another one and added, “When you went out to bat, MI needed 60 runs in under 4 overs. What was your plan? Let me tell you I was confident that you would finish the game.”
Hardik answered it by saying that he was only one shot away from putting pressure back to opposition and added, “I wasn’t thinking much. I knew the bowlers would be under pressure. Yes, for a couple of balls I was under pressure as they were on top. Eventually, I knew that victory was just one shot away. I knew if I connect one, I will be able to put them under pressure and they will have to try out something new, something that they are not used to. I was lucky.”
In the end, Hardik concluded by saying that irrespective of who bats among them, the other feels pressure. “That is usually the story with us. When I bat, he feels the pressure and when he is batting, I am under pressure,” said Hardik.