Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya is one of the most flamboyant cricketers the game has ever produced and his all-around contribution on the field has always been pivotal for the side he is playing. One such knock came while playing against Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday when his sensational performance with the bat and ball led Mumbai Indians to register their 100th IPL win.
Pandya scored a quickfire 25* off just 8 balls with 3 sixes and then picked up 3 wickets including that of CSK skipper MS Dhoni to put the game out of the defending champions’ reach, halting them to 133/8 in 20 overs. This made the coach of CSK, Stephen Fleming praise him highly after the match.
“I am a massive fan (of Pandya), I think he is a wonderful player. His confidence is up, looks like he has a good thing going with what he is doing at the death. Plans should be now for teams to combat that. We were happy with what we were trying to do but executed it poorly,” Fleming was quoted as saying by The Quint.
“He is a quality player. I think he is one of Mumbai’s key weapons and one of India’s key players going forward. If you keep him out of the game you often go on to win. But today (Wednesday) with both bat and ball he was excellent,” said Fleming, who played for CSK in IPL 2008.
Fleming admitted that the game got away from CSK in the last few overs. Despite trying to keep things simple in the last few overs, the game went into the hands of MI team thanks to Pollard and Pandya. “In bowling, we were tight for the first 2/3rds but not in the last 1/3rd. A score of 150 would have been par for the course,” said Fleming.
He also said that he knew the limitations of his team’s players on the field and also understood that his team is never going to set any records for good fielding. “That was one of the downsides with athletes who are a little bit older. For the majority of the innings, we were pretty good, but we are not going to be one of the top fielding sides in the competition,” Fleming concluded.