Gujarat Titans (GT) skipper Hardik Pandya scored an unbeaten 62 off 47 deliveries but his efforts were overshadowed by Virat Kohli’s superlative 73 as Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) registered a stunning 8-wicket win on Thursday. The victory kept their playoff hopes alive in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 but at the same time, marked the end of the campaign for the likes of Punjab Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Hardik lifted GT to a competitive total. Coming into the game with a string of low scores, he warmed up nicely for the play-offs with a well-crafted fifty even though he was not at his fluent best. After getting dropped on 14, he made it count alongside David Miller (34 off 25), who continued his impressive run in the tournament.
But Kohli roared back to form with a fine half-century, playing a 73-run knock off 54 deliveries. He shared a match-winning 115-run opening stand with skipper Faf du Plessis (44 off 38) before Glenn Maxwell (40 not out off 18) went ballistic to ensure the team got home in 18.4 overs.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, Pandya said he felt that 186 was a par score but the way RCB batters, especially Maxwell played, it made them feel like they were 10 runs short.
“We had just a par score. The ball was stopping here and there and we were happy with 168. We wanted to give Lockie the opportunity, but the wicket was holding a bit. So, we wanted to go for bowlers who bowled slower ones and took pace off the ball. We pulled things back in the middle but the way Maxwell played, in the end, made us feel we were 10 runs short,” Pandya said.
Pandya asserted that they may have lost their last league match in the tournament but will try not to repeat the same mistake in the playoffs.
“We are on the right track and we just need to look after losing back to back wickets. The learning is to make sure we don’t do it in the playoffs. It is always good to score runs. The way the boys are gelling and the way we are going, it is a learning for the players. I don’t know about Saha’s injury. He was feeling his hamstring and it was a precautionary measure to keep him off the field,” he concluded.