Mumbai Indians all-rounder Hardik Pandya said their bowlers were left with "not much options" against the marauding duo of Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson, who executed their skills to perfection to guide Rajasthan Royals to a eight-wicket win. Courtesy Pandya's (60 off 21 balls) blitzkrieg, Mumbai put up an imposing 195 for five but Stokes (107 off 60) and Samson (54 off 31) made light work of the target, conjuring a match-winning unbroken 152-run second wicket stand to take Rajasthan home with 10 balls to spare.
"Sometimes you have to give credit to the opposition as well, and I feel that they really batted well. Our bowlers had not much to do; it was their skills and execution, which worked for them...they were better today in batting," Pandya said at the post-match press conference.
The Baroda player, who smashed seven sixes and two fours, said they had enough runs on board and gave credit to Stokes and Samson for successfully chasing down the score. "Hitting sixes is fun, which I enjoyed. I thought we got enough runs, initially when the second strategic time-out happened we were looking more at 165-170, and obviously we got 25 runs more, which I thought was enough but credit goes to Stokes and Sanju, they really batted well," he said.
According to Pandya, luck was also on Rajasthan's side as multiple inside and outside edges flew to the boundary. "They took their chances and I think even luck was there on their side ... actually multiple inside and outside edges went for boundaries. But having said that, they still played some outstanding shots, which I don't think our bowlers had much options to do," he said.
Despite the hammering, Mumbai sit at the top of the top of the table with 14 points and Pandya said the team should focus on finishing in the top-two spot. "I feel from this game we should rectify our mistake, and the other things we didn't do and focus on the positives," he said.
"We are still sitting at number one, we need to play a couple of good games and we should be focussing on getting the top two position and keep focussing," he signed off.
Pandya takes a knee
Pandya has become the first player in the ongoing IPL to take a knee in support of the 'Black Lives Matter' movement. Pandya's gesture came during the game against RR After reaching his half century in the 19th over, he went down on a knee with his right arm raised to show solidarity with the movement against racism.
West Indies all-rounder and Mumbai's stand-in skipper Kieron Pollard responded by raising his right fist. After the match Pandya even tweeted a picture of himself with the caption "#BlackLivesMatter".
Last week, West Indies Test skipper Jason Holder, who plays for the Sunrisers Hyderabad, had expressed his disappointment over none of the IPL teams taking a knee in solidarity with the movement, which, he felt, went unnoticed in the league. "To be honest, I haven't had one conversation up here around it (BLM). Sometimes it seems it has gone unnoticed, which is a sad thing.
"I guess it's for us to re-highlight the importance of it, for people to understand what is happening in the world," Holder had said.
The "taking a knee" gesture started in the West Indies' Test series in England this summer in protest against racism after African-American George Floyd was killed by an on-duty white police officer in Minneapolis.
But the gesture was later discontinued for the subsequent tours of Pakistan and Australia.