IPL 2024: Hardik appeared under pressure, feels Graeme Smith

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | May 04, 2024 IST

Hardik Pandya

Mumbai, May 4: Hardik Pandya is indispensable at this  period to Indian cricket. Because he is the leading pace-bowling all-rounder and is a proven match winner. He has been named Rohit Sharma's deputy for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024. 

But in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024, Hardik has been undergoing a bit of different journey. He was booed by the crowd and Mumbai Indians (MI) under his leadership are struggling too. 

Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith said MI skipper Hardik has looked like a man under pressure in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 after the five-time champions suffered a 24-run loss to Kolkata Knight Riders at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday evening.

This is also their eighth defeat in 11 matches of this season so far, leaving MI in ninth position and more importantly, their playoffs chances are now hanging by a slim thread. “Hardik has really struggled; he's looked like a man under pressure. That's created a little turmoil in the air, who knows how that's affected the people. But even the batting lineup, they look like they're confused.”

“Tilak Varma and Naman Dhir were fighting in the middle order, Dhir was batting at three, and Hardik moving all over the place. They should have had Tilak at 3, Sky at 4, and Hardik batting at 5 throughout the season, with David at 6.”

“Then, figure out your bowling units. All over and all around, they've been a very confused team this season and it's been hugely disappointing from one of the mega franchises of the IPL. A lot of people in the MI fanbase and camp will be very sore after this," said Smith to JioCinema.

Apart from a leadership role, Hardik is enduring a horrid time in IPL 2024 with both bat and ball. With the bat, he has amassed only 198 runs, averaging just 19.8, while picking only eight wickets at an economy rate of 11.

Shane Watson, the former Australia all-rounder, was left baffled over certain on-field decisions from the MI camp. "To keep bowling Naman Dhir when it was so critical (KKR were at 57-5), it was a big mistake from the leadership of the Mumbai Indians, whether it was Hardik Pandya making the decisions or information coming from the sideline.”

“Bumrah had bowled only one over at that stage, so (they needed to) get him in the game again to try and break the partnership of Venkatesh Iyer and Manish Pandey, but they didn't. They just let them cruise and build momentum in the partnership.”

“Before you know it, they hadn't played a shot in anger and that built the partnership to a point where it was too late when he came in. There were a lot of baffling decisions from the Mumbai Indians' leadership, which is going to be hard to explain,” he said.

Amidst all the gloom for MI, Suryakumar Yadav rose to be the bright light via his 35-ball 56. “With Sky at the crease, you always believe you have a chance. He was head and shoulders above every other batter in the MI lineup, nobody looked at all comfortable with the conditions, the pressure, or with their games.”

“Sky came right with excellent stroke play, the usual hitting the ball in awkward areas. He played spin well, he played seam well, front-end or back-foot. While he was there, the whole fanbase of MI thought they had a chance,” concluded Smith.

Mumbai Indians will next take on fourth-placed Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday.

Tipped to be India's next T20 captain, Hardik is a proven warhorse and is very much aware how to handle pressure. But how he overcomes that challenge and performs during the rest phase of the IPL 2024 will be crucial to his performance in upcoming T20 World Cup 2024, feel his supporters. (With IANS support) 

    Tags
  • Mumbai Indians (MI)
  • Hardik Pandya
  • Indian Premier League (IPL)
  • Graeme Smith
  • IPL 2024

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