Gujarat Titans (GT) skipper Hardik Pandya heaped praise on David Miller after the latter guided his team to a seven-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the IPL 2022 Qualifier 1 at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Tuesday (May 24).
Chasing 189 to win, the Titans were in a spot of bother at 85/3 when Miller joined captain Hardik in the middle. Amid the pressure situation, the southpaw didn’t let the RR bowlers dictate terms and kept hitting boundaries to keep the required run-rate under check.
In the final over, GT needed 16 runs and Miller smashed Prasidh Krishna for three consecutive sixes to seal the deal, staying unbeaten on 68 off 38 balls.
"I am genuinely proud of the way he has lifted his game. He is genuinely a damn good guy. I was proud to play with him, and enjoy it. He is simply such a wonderful guy, I always wanted good things to happen to him," Hardik, who remained unbeaten on 40 off 27 balls, said in the press conference.
Miller’s knock was studded with 3 fours, 5 sixes and he was involved in an unbroken 106-run partnership with Pandya.
"It kind of shows that if you show love and importance to a particular player, he can flourish and how! A lot of people counted David Miller out, but for us, he was a match-winner from the time we bought him in the auction. It was important to give him that importance, and clarity of what we expect from him. If he fails, it's okay, it's just a game," the GT captain added.
Hardik Pandya’s calm demeanour as a skipper has often been compared to Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni.
Talking about the same, Hardik said: "Mahi bhai has played a big role in my life. He is a dear friend, a brother and a family to me. I have learnt a lot of good things from him. But for me, it was more about being individually strong, which I am proud of myself, and how I have been able to manage all the parts."
"Before taking up captaincy also, I took all the situations with a cool head. If you think cool-headed, you usually make better decisions. For me, it has been important in both cricket and life that it is better to think for 10 extra seconds rather than rushing things," he explained.
With Gujarat Titans already in the finals, all eyes will be on Rajasthan Royals, Lucknow Super Giants, and Royal Challengers Bangalore to see who advances to the summit clash.
(With ANI inputs)