'I was chuckling at Hardik Pandya. He was like a parrot on Kirsten's shoulder': ENG great lauds GT captain's 'energy'
- With regular skipper Hardik Pandya out with groin injury, Rashid Khan on Sunday smashed a 21-ball 40 to help the Titans beat defending champions Chennai. David Miller conjured an unbeaten 94.
Rashid Khan came out for the toss against Chennai Super Kings with regular skipper Hardik Pandya sitting out with a groin injury. The IPL newbies were without Hardik, who provides depth with his wide-ranging ability. But stand-in captain Rashid ensured that his team crosses the line. The Titans on Sunday defeated the defending champions in a last-over thriller at the MCA Stadium, Pune. (Also Read | 'Pravin Tambe broke down in tears. His opportunity had been tarnished': Former RR bowler recalls 2013 spot-fixing saga)
Chasing 170 for the win, Gujarat needed 48 runs from 18 balls. Rashid decided to up the ante in final overs. The star Afghanistan tweaker smacked three sixes and a four in Chris Jordan's over, which yielded 25 runs. Rashid fell in the penultimate over but man-of-the-match David Miller, who notched up an unbeaten 94, sealed a three-wicket win for the Titans.
Amidst the late drama, Hardik was spotted on the sidelines with batting coach Gary Kirsten, and the pair was visibly tensed towards the end. Hardik has had his fair share of injuries in the past couple of years but the Baroda all-rounder seems to have infused energy into the Titans' impressive run in debut season. Former England skipper Michael Vaughan underlined Hardik's vigour and quipped, "I was chuckling at Hardik Pandya on the sidelines. He was in Gary Kirsten's ear every single time. He was like a parrot on his shoulders."
"He (Hardik) was bringing lots of energy from the sidelines... and that's a really big win for the Titans," said Vaughan on Cricbuzz after the game.
"To do it without Hardik and the fact that Shubman Gill didn't contribute at all, that's a big win. And if they can get David Miller to play in that fashion, you put Hardik next to him as a right-hander and they can be a real threat in this year's IPL. They have had a great start. Still, a long way to go but they have got kinds so early days of reign... it's a really good start from the Titans," he further added.
Gujarat are now on top of the table with five wins from six games and Hardik is among the top run-getters of the 10-team competition. He is also contributing with the ball. He pulled out of the game against Chennai owing to a groin injury but is expected to return for the next game. Gujarat next lock horns with Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday.