Mumbai Indians allrounder Hardik Pandya became the second player after Yuvraj Singh to score a 50 and pick a three-wicket haul in a losing effort in the Indian Premier League. Bringing his exceptional all-around abilities to the fore, the 24-year-old from Surat once again reminded his critics of the skills he possesses with both bat and the ball. In a dream over during the first half of the match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians at the Chinnaswamy on Tuesday, Pandya picked up three important wickets – Mandeep Singh, Virat Kohli, and young Washington Sundar in a single over and gave away just two runs. Courtesy his good work, MI were able to restrict RCB to 167/7 in 20 overs. Later on with the bat, once again it was Pandya who top-scored for MI with a quickfire 42-ball 50 to take the game down to the wire before Tim Southee bowled a brilliant final over to take RCB over the finishing line.
Pandya’s three wickets also took him to the top of the list among bowlers with most wickets in IPL 11, thereby securing the purple cap. However, Pandya’s night began on a sour note as he gave away 20 runs in his first over. At that stage, he was looking completely out of sorts with his wayward line and length. However, the right-arm seamer made a brilliant comeback giving crucial breakthroughs to bring back his team into the match.
Chasing 168 to win the contest, MI were tottering at 84/5 when Pandya walked in to ensure that no further damage was done and forged a 56-run stand with brother Krunal Pandya. His half-century which featured five fours and one six was vital in MI’s chase. But he was eventually dismissed by Tim Southee. Apart from this, Hardik also effected a run-out of Brendon McCullum with a brilliant direct hit while fielding at mid-off. But all his endeavours went in vain as MI succumb to a bitter defeat.
Meanwhile, Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Mumbai Indians at M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru on Tuesday. This was after RCB posted a total of 167/7 batting first and then restricted MI to 153 to secure two vital points and move up to the fifth spot on the points table.