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Mistakes Hardik Pandya made as captain against SRH

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Last updated on 27 Mar 2024 | 08:00 PM
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Mistakes Hardik Pandya made as captain against SRH

From giving just one over to Bumrah in the powerplay to his batting position, Hardik Pandya made some dodgy calls against SRH

Hardik Pandya’s return to Mumbai Indians as skipper hasn’t gone well for him and the franchise. The 30-year-old has been receiving a lot of hate from the fans ever since replacing Rohit Sharma as MI’s captain. Now, that’s not right, but the all-rounder has made some dodgy calls in his first two games of the IPL 2024.

Hardik is no spring chicken when it comes to leading a franchise. He led Gujarat Titans to a title in their first year of existence and then also helped them finish as runners-up in the following edition. Hence, it was surprising to see him make basic errors against Sunrisers Hyderabad on March 27 (Wednesday). The Orange Army amassed 277 runs but still won by only 31 runs, so those couple of calls could have probably made a difference.

Just one over for Bumrah in powerplay

“They didn't bowl their best bowler in the powerplay... that was our plan. They missed a trick up front. We've got incredible strikers up front in our batting line-up. They just set the tempo so our work was basically done,” said Heinrich Klaasen after smashing 80* off 34 in the first innings.

Hyderabad were 148/2 at the end of 10 overs. But guess what, Jasprit Bumrah was given only one over in the first half. One in the powerplay, one in the middle, and two at death - that’s how Rohit generally used Bumrah when he was the captain. 

So when Kwena Maphaka and Hardik himself started the proceedings with the ball, it didn’t come as a big surprise. The idea was to get away with a couple of overs when the ball was moving. However, Travis Head took the attack to Maphaka in the third over and slammed him for 22 runs.

Hardik rightly brought Bumrah into the attack and the ace paceman responded with a five-run over. SRH were 45/0 when he finished his over and by the time he came back to bowl his second, the Sunrisers had raced to 173/3 in 12 overs.

Bumrah didn’t bowl a single ball to Abhishek Sharma, who clobbered 63 off 23 deliveries. Instead, Hardik fed Piyush Chawla to the left-hander and got hit for three sixes in an over.

The plan was probably to save him for Klaasen, however, by the time he came back, it was too late. Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, former SRH coach Tom Moody said, “They would've been planning around a number of challenges for today's match but the biggest challenge on the batting side would've been 'how do we keep Klaasen quiet?'

"And they had it stuck in their head that they've got to make sure they've got overs in the bank with Bumrah when Klaasen comes to the crease. But you have to be flexible with your plans. Every chance that Klaasen may not have batted today the way Sunrisers were going at the top.

"That was the issue. At six overs (first time out), they were 81. As a coach, you are having a conversation with your captain and key seniors, and you need to say 'We need wickets. Who is our wicket-taker? You go 'No. 1 Jasprit Bumrah, No. 2 someone else.’ For the next two overs minimum, those two bowlers (should've bowled) and the priority should've been wickets.”

Bumrah finished with figures of 0/36, the only MI bowler to concede less than 11.5 runs per over. 

Bowling Coetzee in first six overs

Gerald Coetzee was brilliant in the first game against the Titans, taking 2/27 in his four overs. The South African pacer came into the attack in the 11th over and bowled all of his overs in the second half of the innings. Bowling in the middle overs is something that suits him more, like we saw in the 2023 ODI World Cup. 

In T20s, Coetzee has an economy of 7.8 and a strike rate of 15.9 in the middle overs, so it wasn’t right on Hardik to introduce him in the powerplay. Bowling the sixth over, he was whacked for two maximums and as many fours, leaking 23 runs in his first over. 

Not bringing in Shepherd as impact sub in first innings

Chawla and Shams Mulani leaked 67 runs across four overs, so it was pretty evident that MI spinners were struggling against Abhishek and Klaasen who are two of the best spin hitters in the league. Mumbai had started with just three overseas players and had an option of bringing in one of Dewald Brevis, Romario Shepherd or Mohammad Nabi.

With Maphaka also being taken to the cleaners, Hardik and Mumbai could have brought in Shepherd in the first innings, which they eventually ended up doing in the run-chase. They probably would have wanted to use Brevis in the second innings but with SRH scoring almost 150 in 10 overs, someone like Shepherd could have come in handy.

Now, the fast-bowling all-rounder from West Indies is not a world-class option in this format, howbeit, could have given Hardik an extra option with Maphaka and spinners getting hit all around the park. Shepherd could have given Hardik a couple of overs in the middle and that way Mulani wouldn’t have been needed to bowl the final over, where he was hit for 21 runs.

His batting position

Hardik has got his batting entry point wrong in both games. When Mumbai needed 40 off 25 deliveries against GT, Tim David walked out to bat ahead of Hardik. The required rate was well under control and Hardik could have guided the chase with all his experience. David couldn’t take on Rashid Khan and Mohit Sharma and got out after scoring 11 off 10. Hardik scored 11 off 4 but it was still not enough.

Tonight against Hyderabad, he walked in ahead of some power hitters who were the need of the hour. Hardik has now sort of become an anchor. Hence, batters like David and Shepherd batting before him on the true Hyderabad surface would have made more sense. Despite conceding 277, Mumbai were still in the game when Hardik came out to bat.

Rohit Sharma (26 off 12), Ishan Kishan (34 off 13) and Naman Dhir (30 off 14) went at a strike rate of well above 200. Tilak Varma (64 off 34) was also hitting the ball well. Mumbai had reached 151 by the end of 11 overs. 127 in 9 overs looked very gettable. However, Hardik’s knock of 24 off 20 killed the entire momentum.

Hardik raced to 13 off 6 by hitting Mayank Markande for a four and a six, however, failed to get the better of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat and Pat Cummins who kept bowling him change-up deliveries on back of a length. That’s one length Hardik has always struggled to put away and he eventually got out on the same length. 

Unlike Hardik, David (42* off 22) and Shepherd (15* off 6) managed to find boundaries. Hardik operated at a strike rate of just 120 and wasted 20 deliveries in the innings where the second worst strike rate was 188.24. 

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