Hardik Pandya bowled the second-most expensive quota of four overs in an innings in this edition of the IPL when he was hammered for 57 runs by the Kings XI Punjab batsmen at the Wankhede stadium on Wednesday, 10th April.
Although he did manage to pick two wickets, his economy rate of 14.25 made him the most expensive bowler of the match even as Kieron Pollard tore into the Kings XI bowling and helped Mumbai Indians win a last-ball thriller at home.
Hardik was tonked for 17 in his very first over as Chris Gayle took a fancy to his bowling, slamming him for a six and two boundaries. He went for 10 in his second before KL Rahul smashed him for three maximums and a boundary in the penultimate over of the innings.
Hardik was either too short for the pace he generated or was clobbered off a length. He failed to produce yorkers consistently and was punished on a batting paradise in Mumbai.
He managed to bowl just 5 dot balls and conceded as many as 4 fours and 4 sixes in his spell.
Barring his performance against CSK in Mumbai (3-20 in 4 overs), Hardik’s bowling figures in IPL 2019 do not inspire much confidence - 1-41 in 4 overs, 0-37 in 3 overs, 0-39 in 3 overs, 0-7 in one over and 2-57 in 4 overs.
He has been poor and the opposition batsmen have taken him for aplenty. His economy rate of 10.57 in the season is the worst amongst all MI bowlers and the second-worst overall in the tournament – only Ben Stokes has a worse economy of 10.84 (min. 12 overs bowled).
He has been hit for as many as 28 boundaries (4s and 6s combined) – which is the fourth-highest for any bowler this season.
Hardik’s fortunes seem to have diminished this season.
At a similar stage last year, he had picked 8 wickets in 6 matches at an average of 18 and economy of 8.64. He has a total of 6 wickets in as many matches this year at an average of 33.5 (amongst the worst for MI this season) and economy of 10.57.
Hardik was one of the stars with the ball last season for MI – he was their leading wicket-taker and aggregated the fifth-highest number of wickets overall.
He picked 18 wickets in 13 innings at 21.16 apiece. Although he was a touch expensive (economy rate of 8.92), he more than adequately compensated for that with his wicket-taking prowess in the season (strike rate of 14.2).
With the World Cup barely a month and a half away and Hardik expected to play a crucial role as the fifth bowling option for India in England, the all-rounder needs to get his act together with the ball sooner rather than later.
*Stats updated till April 11, 2019.
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