Head coach Mahela Jayawardene has lauded exploits of Nitish Rana and all-rounder Hardik Pandya after they helped Mumbai Indians (MI) edge past Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at Wankhede. Chasing 179, it was Rana and Hardik who struck a 41-run stand that sealed the deal for the home team. Rana anchored the innings, while Hardik played the aggressor’s role and finished the match for his side with 4 wickets in hand. Jayawardene was pleased with both Rana and Pandya, and complemented them for the manner in which they carried Mumbai through. IPL 2017: Pollard lashes out at Sanjay Manjrekar
In the post-match conference, Jayawardene said, “It’s a funny game. Bit of pressure and few good shots created those opportunities for us and pretty pleased with how the two young players carried us through.” He further commended Rana, “The way Nitish batted, he batted through. He’s a very talented player and showed lot of quality today. Hopefully he grows stronger through the tournament and we can see more of that from him.”
Jayawardene also pointed at the reason to why Mumbai is keeping Rohit Sharma out of the opening slot. He said, “Well, it is just a decision that we took tactically going forward. We can’t keep playing the same patterns that we played in the past as well.”
“Teams tend to target Rohit and put pressure on the other guys as well. He is coming back from an injury, so we just need to slowly get him involved. You may be surprised, you know some of the games he might just open the batting,” concluded Jayawardene.
Skipper Rohit also congratulated Rana and Hardik’s brilliance in the post-match ceremony. “We were hoping Rana and Hardik would finish it off and they did. It’s important for any team to have young players come in like that and finish the job. I hope they repeat it,” said Rohit.