Mumbai: Mumbai Indians defeated defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday by four wickets to register their second successive win in the Indian Premier League this season.
Nitish Rana and Jasprit Bumrah starred with the bat and ball respectively but it was the Pandya brothers – Krunal and Hardik – who once again stole the show with their stellar all-rounder performances for the Mumbai Indians.
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Krunal and Hardik are quickly becoming a force to reckon with and the brothers have shown their worth in the side by performing in each and every game for this season. While Hardik was exceptional with the ball against Sunrisers, it was Krunal’s explosive batting which eventually helped MI overhaul the target of 159 with eight balls to spare. Hardik took the important wicket of Yuvraj Singh at a crucial stage in the first innings and gave away just 22 runs in his three overs.
Krunal then bailed Mumbai out of trouble in the second innings and smashed 37 off just 20 balls and along with top-scorer Nitish Rana (45 off 36 balls), added 38 runs for the fifth-wicket which proved to be the decisive partnership for MI. MI skipper Rohit Sharma revealed after the match that the Pandya brother have got the license to thrill from the team management. “You must have seen both of them on the ground. They (the Pandya brothers) are expressive, that’s just how they play. And we have given them the liberty to express themselves. It brings out the best from them and we also enjoy seeing that from the dressing room,” Rohit said at the post-match presentation.
Rohit was also pleased with the all-round effort from the rest of the Mumbai players.
“When they (bowlers) execute their plans, it becomes easy for a captain to manoeuvre his field. We know how Warner plays upfront as well as Shikhar. Lot of credit goes to the bowlers and the fielders. Parthiv behind the wicket makes it easier for me to adjust my field. Very good performance from the bowlers and well-finished by the batsmen as well. Still early days, just three games, but we would like to take a lot from the three games. I could not have asked for anything more from each of the 10 players. But now the big challenge, we go to Bangalore,” he added.
Hardik has been outstanding in particular in the three matches for MI so far. He smashed an unbeaten 35 off 15 balls in the first game against Rising Pune Supergiant but his effort went in vain as Mumbai lost the match by 7 wickets thanks to a superb knock from Steve Smith.
But he made his innings count in the next match and scored 29 off 11 balls to guide Mumbai to a four-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders at the Wankhede. His elder brother Krunal took three wickets in the match as well.
Hardik’s has been impressive with both bat and ball this season while Krunal’s contributions have been equally effective for Mumbai. The brothers complement each other really well on the field and have been the driving force behind MI’s successive wins in the last two matches.
Mumbai will next face the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on April 14. RCB skipper Virat Kohli is expected to make his return in that match.