Hardik Pandya is the glue holding Mumbai Indians’ batting together, says Tim David

PTI, Apr 10, 2024, 8:43 PM IST

Hardik Pandya (Credit: PTI / File)

Mumbai Indians’ all-rounder Tim David on Wednesday defended skipper Hardik Pandya’s scoring rate in the ongoing IPL, saying he has been the ”glue” which is holding the batting together for the five-time winners.

Even though Pandya has struck at 138.46 to get 108 runs in four matches so far while batting at different slots, his failure to go ballistic in the middle as well as lower order has been noticeable this season.

In the first game against his former side Gujarat Titans, Pandya succumbed to pressure after a four-ball 11 in a tricky chase whereas in the next, the MI skipper could only manage a 20-ball 24 at No 5 against Sunrisers Hyderabad while chasing a monumental 278.

Pandya did a commendable job on a tough pitch against Rajasthan Royals to top-score with a 21-ball 34 in a low-scoring game, but his 33-ball 39 (3x4s, 1x6s) was in stark contrast to the other MI batters who went hammer and tongs to help the team record its highest total of 234/5 at home in the last match.

”We have had conversations about how we have played. Hardik has been playing a really important job for our team,” David told the media during Mumbai Indians’ training session at the Wankhede Stadium on the eve of their clash against Royal Challengers Bengaluru.

”Look at the last match (vs Delhi Capitals), we struggled really hard for momentum towards the back end (against Delhi Capitals). Hardik played a perfect innings that set the platform for myself and Romario (Shepherd) to go on with at the end,” David added.

”We got ourselves to a platform and he got that one ball that he could have hit for six. He hit it high on the bat and missed the middle and he is out (and) that is how the game goes.” The Australian all-rounder said having an extra batter in the line-up with the impact player rule in place could allow some batting line-ups like Kolkata Knight Riders to go boom or bust, but Pandya holds the innings together.

”With the extra freedom of having an extra batter, there is maybe a little bit less responsibility. Some people are playing with a little bit more freedom or throwing caution to the wind. It goes both ways. KKR, the way they have been playing, they have been scoring a lot of runs.

”The other night, they were playing the same way (against Chennai Super Kings). They were looking to go big or bust a bit. They fall in a heap in the middle order.”

”Like I said at the start, we had Hardik playing a middle order role in the last match. He was the glue that held us together and gave us a chance to play with freedom at the back end,” he added.

”Hardik has been phenomenal in the way he has been playing for the team. That is what we need at some point. Sometimes it is me, sometimes it is other guys.”

David said the team has absolutely no concerns with the way their skipper has batted so far.

”You could go look at the first game where Hardik hit two boundaries in his first two balls. (We have) absolutely full faith in him. We know his power; we know how good he is. When he gets into that situation, he is going to win games for us,” David added.

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