Hardik shines as Titans beat Royals by 37 runs

Mumbai :¬†Hardik smahed unbeaten 87 off 52 balls to guide Titans to 192 for four after being invited to bat. Hardik decorated his knock with eight fours and four sixes and in the company of Abhinav Manohar (43 off 28) shared 86 runs for the fourth wicket to lay the foundation for Titans’ big score. Towards the end, David Miller played a 14-ball unbeaten 31-run cameo.

Titans’ bowlers then picked up wickets at regular intervals to restrict Royals to 155 for nine.

Jos Buttler top-scored for Royals with a 24-ball 54.

Lockie Ferguson (3/23) and Yash Dayal (3/40) shared six wickets between them for Titans.

Hardik Pandya, said, ‘Always good to win. It is just cramps. Not used to batting for so long. Gives me time though to calculate. Today I got the rhythm and planned my knock. It allows the others to play freely. I have done the other role where I have scored 12 balls 30. Captaincy is always fun. Be the flagbearer of the team. The team is gelling well. I wanted all of us to be happy for each other’s happiness. That is working well for the team.’

Lockie Ferguson, said, ‘(On Buttler’s wicket ball) The way he was batting, there’s not a lot you can do when a guy’s batting that well. And then he lapped my first ball, so I had to change up something, fortunately got a little bit of drift, certainly happy to see the back of him. It came out nicely, glad to see the stumps light up. Throughout the IPL, thousands of batters can get on top of the game like him but he’s certainly right at the top and one of the best. When a guy is batting like that, there’s not a lot you can do. You got to get into defensive mode. The way Yash bowled upfront, I actually thought he bowled pretty well, but you just saw the class of Jos there.

It was nice to see the back of him for sure. You couldn’t get him (Hardik Pandya) out of the game tonight. As soon as he came back to the field, a run-out, he had a superb game and leading the boys so well. We love the energy he brings every game, it’s been fantastic. We’ve got a lot of experience. Rashid Khan has been bowling so consistently well for such a long period of time. He’s creating the pressure for the rest of us to take the wickets at the other end. The wickets don’t always come to him, but it’s unbelievable how well he bowls.

It’s great to have him on our side. (On the pitch) Good pace, certainly happier with this wicket than couple of nights ago. There’s good pace in all the wickets so far in the tournament. We’ve managed to get a little bit of seam out of the wicket Mo (Shami) up top is getting a bit of swing which is nice. So far so good. Tewatia hasn’t bowled much, I am sure he’ll play a part as we go through the comp.’

Sanju Samson, said, ‘ You can say that (if Gurajat got 10-15 extra runs). But I would like to give credit to their batters. Hardik played a very good innings, they played really well to get that score. If we had wickets in hand this was chasable I feel. We were almost there in terms of run rate, in the powerplay we had a better run rate actually, But we kept losing wickets. Freaky niggle last night in training, definitely missed him (Boult).

Hopefully he will be back soon. He (Hardik) had a really good day today, batted, bowled and fielded well. I have played enough number of years in this league to understand that each game is crucial. Very important to learn and comeback stronger in the next game. I was doing No. 3 continuously till last season. So we decided to have that flexibility, come down at No. 4 or 5 or wherever the team needs me. Having someone like R Ashwin allows us to do that, Devdutt Padikkal batted 3 in the first three games. So it all depends on the combination we are playing.’