'I won't leave battlefield, will keep fighting': Hardik introspects after MI's campaign hangs on mathematical fate | Crickit
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'I won't leave battlefield, will keep fighting': Hardik introspects after MI's campaign hangs on mathematical fate

May 04, 2024 06:11 AM IST

Looking back at the defeat against KKR, Hardik Pandya reckoned that lack of partnerships cost Mumbai the game.

The IPL 2024 season, which began with much promise even amid the controversial captaincy call, is all but over for Mumbai Indians. On Friday, the Hardik Pandya-led side was bundled for just 145 runs in 18.5 overs in their chase of 170 on the two-paced Wankhede track as Kolkata registered their first-ever IPL win at the venue in 12 years. While the result took KKR close to another playoff qualification, for MI, their fate lies in mathematical chances.

Mumbai Indians' captain Hardik Pandya looks on during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders(AFP)
Mumbai Indians' captain Hardik Pandya looks on during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders(AFP)

Mumbai's brand-new Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Thushara, put KKR in the backseat with his three-wicket burst in the powerplay as the visitors were reduced to five down for just 57 runs in 6.1 overs. However, on the sticky track, Venkatesh Iyer applied himself to carve out a brilliant knock of 70 from 52 balls, while stitching an 83-run stand alongside Manish Pandey as KKR set a target of 170, despite Jasprit Bumrah being almost unplayable in the death overs.

In response, MI's top order put on yet another horrifying show, but with the dew setting in and Suryakumar Yadav looking sublime touch, there was a glimmer of hope for the home team. But before the start of the slog overs, Andre Russell dismissed the Mumbai star with a knee-high full toss, before Mitchell Starc executed the finishing act with his three wickets in the death as the hosts were all out for 145 in the 19th over.

Looking back at the defeat, Hardik reckoned that lack of partnerships cost Mumbai the game.

"I mean obviously in the batting inning, we couldn’t form partnerships and kept losing wickets, in T20s if you don’t form partnerships, it will cost you. Not much, there are a lot of questions but that will take some time to answer but for now, not much to say. As you mentioned, the bowlers did a fantastic job, the wicket got a little better after the first innings, the dew came on. We will go through the game and see what could we have done better," he said after the 24-run loss.

This was Mumbai's eighth defeat this season in 11 matches, the most by any team this season. Although they stand ninth in the table, separated from Royal Challengers Bengaluru, also on six points (from 10 games), owing to a better net run rate.

When asked how he was coping up with the loss which all but ends Mumbai's hopes of making the playoffs, Hardik said: "You keep fighting, that is what I tell to myself, never leave the battlefield, tough days come but good also come here, it’s challenging but challenges make you better."

Can Mumbai Indians still make the IPL 2024 playoffs?

Mathematically yes. With three more games remaining, they would still end up with 12 points on the table, but the five-time champions also need other factors to go their way. They need top-placed Rajasthan Royals and second-placed Kolkata Knight Riders to win all their remaining games while hope Lucknow Super Giants and Sunrisers Hyderabad suddenly incur a losing streak, except for the match they play against each other. The winner of that May 8 clash will gain 14 points at the end of the league stage, leaving MI as among of the contenders for the fourth spot with 12 points.

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