It’s a fantastic feeling to bat like that and win: Hardik Pandya

Mumbai: In what is termed as the EL Classico of IPL, Mumbai Indians rather made light work of Chennai Super Kings and handed them their first defeat of the tournament winning by 37 runs.

Pandya smashed an eight-ball 25 and then picked up three wickets to power the victory and was adjudged as the man of the match for his all-round display.

Struggling at 50 for three at one point, Mumbai raked in 45 runs in the last two overs to post 170 for five and then halted their rivals at 133 for eight to post their second win in four games.

Chennai batsmen did not make a good start and at one stage were reduced for 89 for 5. Kedar Jadhav was the lone batsmen to hit a half-century.

Speaking after the loss CSK skipper MS Dhoni said “We started well, were right on the mark for the first 10-12 overs. Then, a few catches were dropped, a few misfields, the death over bowling wasn’t great. We don’t have bowlers who hit the deck, it was slightly tough on them.”

Dhoni said he would prefer a one-on-one meeting with his players rather than a team meeting. “We do have one-on-one plans, we needed to know where we could cut-off the boundaries, which batsmen to target, a boundary-less or two could have made a difference to a 10-12 run over or a 7-run over. We needed to build some momentum, but we need to know when to plan for those. It is a tough thing – this so-called momentum, it doesn’t really matter, a good start from the bowlers will make things tight, once you set the tone, the game goes along in that flow.”

Asked  whether the momentum will get affected going into the next game, Dhoni said “Bravo has a hamstring injury, we don’t have a few players, we already have some injuries, David Willey isn’t there, he has his own problems, Lungi Ngidi isn’t with us as well, we will have to look at the pitch and then decide on the right combination,” the former India skipper added.

MI captain Rohit Sharma was delighted with the result. “We don’t want the headache of winning every game at the back-end of the tournament. It becomes very tough. I thought 170 was a fighting total because there was something in the pitch. If we knock a few wickets with the new ball, we’ll be in the game. That’s probably why I can’t find a game-changing moment in this 40 overs.”

Hardik Pandya, Man of the Match said, “It feels really good to help the team win and to contribute to it. It’s been seven months since I played much competitive cricket. Have batted and batted and batted in the nets. I am someone who loves to have game time and I am hitting them really well at the moment. It’s a fantastic feeling batting like that and making your team win, Yes the injury happened and then the controversy too. These seven months weren’t easy and I wasn’t sure of what to do. This award is special and I dedicate it to all those who stood by me during those tough times. My goal is to keep performing and hopefully, help India win the World Cup.”

NT Bureau