It was one of Mumbai Indian's must-win games, they needed their key players to stand up and so one did. Hardik Pandya when he was retained by the franchise for the season, he had all the pressure on him for it.
Hardik has been moving around the Purple Cap this season and has found a few runs with the bat but the matchwinning impact was missing. Against the Kolkata Knight Riders yesterday though, Mumbai Indians found that matchwinning impact from Hardik Pandya.
He scored a 20-ball 35 before giving away just 18 runs from his four overs and now holds the Purple Cap with 14 wickets in the season.
After the game talking about his game and performance on the day, in the press conference. Hardik said, “It is a good thing. It was not my effort. I didn’t try that hard. But the (purple) cap is there and if you take wickets... I am happy,”
“(Bowling in the) death is difficult but one thing I have understood about T20, even if you are bowling well, in odd games you will go for runs. Everybody is bowling well but if you see in all the games, someone has gone (for runs). In some games, they have gone for 40-45, which happens in the T20 format. If you ask me about difficulty, powerplay and death is difficult because you have restrictions in the powerplay and in the death (overs), they are just there to swing.”
Talking about another Pandya, his brother Krunal Pandya, who himself is Mumbai Indians' key player, Hardik said, “I have seen his growth because he has always played with me. He has improved his game after a lot of hard work. To be honest, I am myself surprised. It is because of the confidence which he is carrying and showing that he belongs here, which is fantastic for him and the team.”
Mumbai are in a position where they'll have to keep winning to have a chance to qualify. Hardik is optimistic, especially after yesterday's win, and said, “The team is quite positive and we have to think that we are going to make it, otherwise no point in playing. As a team, we believe we can do this. We have done it in the past though it is a bit difficult to do it.”