Manish Pandey said interaction with VVS Laxman prior to the game helped him clear his thoughts and play his shots, as he helped Sunrisers Hyderabad to an eight-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in Dubai on Thursday.
Pandey slammed 83* off 47, which, along with Vijay Shankar’s unbeaten 52, helped SRH over the line after they lost their openers cheaply chasing 155.
“There were enough talks around our middle order. High time for one of us in the top three to perform. I just wanted to stay on the wicket and play my shots. Before the match I had a word with VVS Laxman (mentor). Earlier I used to have a lot of thoughts before going to bat,” he said.
“Really happy that it came off today. We had the opportunity to win the game for SRH, really happy I’m standing here.”
RR perhaps missed a trick when they took Jofra Archer off the attack after the pacer had reduced SRH to 16 for 2 by the third over. Asked if a third over from Archer would have made a difference, Pandey said they would have looked to play him off.
“Doesn’t matter, we had plans to see Jofra off,” he said. “There were a couple of leggies and Indian bowlers in the middle overs to score runs off, and it paid off. The first ball I middled through covers and I tried to keep my shape. I was hitting it well and I tried to get my team over the line.
“Vijay was also long due, he has been doing well with the ball and today he stepped up for us batting at 4. I’m happy for him. We are trying to take positives from this match and we’ll try to keep it up for the rest of the tournament.”
Vijay, who came into the game on the back of three poor batting performances, said it was a do or die game for him. He also bowled a crucial spell of 1/15 from 3 overs, getting the wicket of Jos Buttler.
“I have been bowling pretty well, I don’t know when I will get the ball – today I bowled the sixth over – so I just wanted to be ready whenever I’m called. I tried to take pace off, hit the hard length and bowl cross-seamed. On these wickets when you hit the hard length, there is something for the bowlers,” he said.
“We just thought we should take the game deep. We knew Jofra will come hard at us. Personally this was a do-or-die game for me. I batted just 18 balls prior to this. It was a good challenge and I was looking forward to something like this because it will give me a lot of confidence if I do well in that situation.
“I asked Manish if I should go for the shots because I didn’t want him to feel the pressure because of me slowing down and play a rash shot. We were communicating well in that partnership, that’s why we were able to take the game deep.”