Sachin Tendulkar's 'clear-cut sign' as Mumbai Indians lose again, Hardik Pandya uses 'soldier' analogy to lift spirits | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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Sachin Tendulkar's 'clear-cut sign' as Mumbai Indians lose again, Hardik Pandya uses 'soldier' analogy to lift spirits

Mar 28, 2024 02:30 PM IST

After Mumbai Indians' defeat, Sachin Tendulkar and Hardik Pandya's riveting speeches tried to lift the spirits of MI players.

Sachin Tendulkar may have retired from professional cricket 11 years ago but the Mumbai Indians spirit lives on inside him. The first MI batter to score a century, Tendulkar is actively involved in the team's thick of things as mentor of the franchise, and although he keeps his emotions in check most of the time, the former captain is the first one to lift the team's spirits whenever needed.

Sachin Tendulkar and Hardik Pandya delivered post-match speeches. (MI-Screengrab)
Sachin Tendulkar and Hardik Pandya delivered post-match speeches. (MI-Screengrab)

And there couldn't have been a more opportune moment that last night for Tendulkar to share his wisdom. MI came close to knocking off the highest total of all time, but they fell short. Short by 31 runs. While such a margin of defeat is considered huge in T20 cricket, it doesn't accurately reflect MI's fight. Needing 278 to win, after rampant half-centuries from Travis Head, Abhishek Sharma and Heinrich Klaasen ripped MI's bowlers apart, they ended up scoring 246, which in itself is a match-winning total nine out of 10 times. But the fact of the matter is, they were up against a team better than them, the Sunrisers Hyderabad.

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When MI's chase began, not many would have given them a chance. Barring themselves. When the fifty was raised in just the third over, there was hope, and even though Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan fell in quick succession after giving the team a blistering start, Tilak Varma's 24-ball half-century made them believe. Eventually, it all fell apart as boundaries dried up in the last five overs, but for the most part, MI brought the fight to SRH, and that's not everyone's cup of tea.

"In the second half, in spite of scoring 277, 10 overs down the line nobody knew who was a clear winner. The game was very much open. The target was very much achievable. That's a clear-cut sign that we've batted really well. So let's stick together. Tighter. There are going to be tougher moments. We will stick together as a group and pull it through," Tendulkar said in his speech after the result.

We are soldiers, Hardik tells teammates

MI captain Hardik Pandya chipped in after Sachin, reserving special praise for his bowlers, who came under the pump. Debutant Kwena Maphaka bled 66 runs in his 4 overs, while the best bowler on show was once against Jasprit Bumrah, who gave away 36 runs at nine an over. Gerald Coetzee had a forgettable night, as did Piyush Chawal and Shams Mulani, who didn't even complete four overs, such was the assault of SRH batters. But Hardik, who 'liked what he saw' last evening, is mighty proud of his bowler's never-say-die-attitude.

"Toughest soldiers get the toughest test. And we are the toughest team in the competition. Anyone who would have come even close to where we reached, as a batting group or as just overall Mumbai Indians, are us. Something I am really proud of is our bowlers. Even when the day was tough, I didn't see no one running away. Everyone wanted the ball and that's a good sign. So let's make sure that we help each other throughout whatever happens. Worst. Bad. Good. We will manage it together," mentioned Hardik in his post-match speech.

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