No batsman gave Hardik Pandya company in the middle: Quinton de Kock

No batsman gave Hardik Pandya company in the middle: Quinton de Kock

Hardik Pandya scored a belligerent 91 comprising 9 sixes and 6 fours against KKR on Sunday.

Quinton de Kock
Quinton de Kock. (Photo: IANS)

The Mumbai Indians (MI) always start as favourites against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) whenever they meet in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Till Sunday, the MI had won 18 games against the KKR while they lost only five. Of the 18 wins, eight have come on the trot since 2015. However, it was the KKR who prevailed in the clash that took place at the Eden Gardens on Sunday and won by 34 runs to stay alive in IPL 12. The win came following a superlative batting display by Dinesh Karthik’s side which posted a mammoth total of 232 for 2 in 20 overs and then restricted the MI to 198 for 7.

However, even though the MI had an ordinary beginning to their chase after Andre Russell (80 not out off 40), Shubman Gill (76 off 45) and Chris Lynn (54 off 29) ran berserk, one batsman decided to take the attack to the opposition. Hardik Pandya, who after a roller-coaster ride in his career over the last few months found stability eventually, scored a blistering knock of 91 in only 34 balls at No.6. MI was reduced to 58 for 4 in the ninth over. He hit nine sixes and six fours to keep the MI in the chase and perished in the 18th over when the team’s score read 185.

Hardik has been hitting the ball phenomenally well this season

Hardik has been sensational this IPL with his solid hitting down the order and has a strike-rate of 198 above from 12 matches. This has been by far his best IPL in terms of batting and came very near to his maiden ton of the tournament. MI opener Quinton de Kock rued the fact that Hardik’s epic innings went in vain despite creating tension in the opponents’ camp and said it became harder for the MI as no other batsman gave the all-rounder the much-needed company.

“We would have loved a couple of fewer wickets when Kieron (Pollard) and Hardik walked in. But, unfortunately, it didn’t happen today so there’s the collapse and no one batting with Hardik made it harder for us,” the South African de Kock, who fell for a duck in the second over, said in the post-match press conference. The next highest scorer for the MI was Suryakumar Yadav (26). Kieron Pollard (20) and captain Rohit Sharma (12) failed to impress as well.

Speaking about his own dismissal off the bowling of Sunil Narine, de Kock said: “When you have to score of 233, you need to play one or two shots anyway. You have to try against any bowler who comes on and take a chance to get things going. So if I hit that ball for four or six, you probably would have said ‘great shot’ but unfortunately I got out so didn’t look.”

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