Focus on Mumbai Indians’ Pandya’s clash with ‘home’ team Gujarat
Pandya played as a finisher for MI last season. But this time, he has been handed a greater responsibility of batting at No 3. So far, he has disappointed in both matches.ipl Updated: Apr 16, 2016 09:37 IST
Last year was frantic for Hardik Pandya. His blitzkrieg knocks for Mumbai Indians in the 2015 IPL got him instant recognition.
Since then, his career has seen an upsurge. He made his T20I debut at the start of the year in Australia and followed it up with another round of impressive performances against Sri Lanka. He was included in the Asia Cup and World T20 squads.
While he did well in the Asia Cup, his performance in the World T20 was inconsistent. He bowled the match-winning last over against Bangladesh in Bangalore. But Pandya was criticised for his below-par effort in the semi-final against West Indies.
With Mumbai Indians
The 22-year-old played as a finisher for MI last season. But this time, he has been handed a greater responsibility of batting at No 3. So far, he has disappointed in both matches. Pandya could not get into double digits. Even his bowling seemed to come apart.
The Baroda lad, who considers himself more of a batting all-rounder, will have to pick his game up.
While MI recorded their first win against KKR at Eden, it was largely because of skipper Rohit Sharma, who led with an unbeaten 84.
MI’s batting, especially in the top, looked shaky and if not for some lusty hits by Mitchell McClenaghan and Jos Buttler, who batted around Sharma, the result could have been different.
The team is still behind Pandya.
“He is a quality player. He had a great time in the domestic T20 batting at No 3 for Baroda. If he is batting at 3 it gives the team a very good balance. It gives Ambati Rayudu, (Kieron) Pollard and Buttler a platform to launch,” said Parthiv Patel.
On Saturday, Pandya will take on his state side Gujarat Lions, who have won both their matches. The Lions would be missing Ravindra Jadeja, who is getting married on April 17.
New Zealand’s Martin Guptill, who replaces the injured Lendl Simmons, will be up for selection against Gujarat Lions. If selected, it will be his IPL debut.