Time and time again Hardik Pandya has staged rescue acts for Mumbai Indians coming in lower down the order. On Monday (April 15), Pandya once again proved why he is such an asset to his team as he plundered 37* in just 16 balls to take Mumbai to a five-wicket win against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
"I have been doing this for almost four years now, that is my role for any team I play for," said Pandya at the post-match press conference. "It is all about situations, we play according to the situations, if you are smart enough more often than not you will get the result you desire."
The hosts did a decent job on a good Wankhede surface to restrict Bangalore to 171/7 despite AB de Villiers and Moeen Ali thumping half-centuries. Pandya lauded the Mumbai bowlers for finding the right areas especially with the new ball upfront.
"We bowled pretty well with the new ball. Our bowling unit has bowlers who can swing the ball and get some purchase from the wicket. We hit the right areas and we were getting the movement from the surface which was important for us," he said.
Pandya has been a key member for both Mumbai and India in the last few years. On his day, the 26-year-old has the ability to turn any game on its head with both bat and ball. He has already slammed 187 runs in eight outings so far this IPL season striking at a belligerent 191.75 and has returned seven wickets as well.
Earlier in the day, he was named in India's 15-member squad that will travel to England & Wales for the World Cup and the all-rounder insisted that a good IPL will help him approach the all-important quadrennial event with confidence.
"It is very important to always have the confidence behind you. World Cup is a big stage and this is the first time I am playing," Pandya remarked. "For me, it was very important to keep hitting the ball well, I was away for the game for some time and coming back it was important to get a hit.
"I think the time I was out is helping me now because I am in a good mind space and everything is going right."
Pandya gave a good account of himself the last two times he was in the UK - at the 2017 Champions Trophy and then in 2018 when India toured England. The all-rounder admitted that having played in the English conditions will keep him in good stead at the World Cup but said that he will only decide on his game plan depending on the conditions there.
"The last time I went, lots of people told me that it would be swinging, it will be nice to bowl but I don't think I have played on flatter wickets that the ones in the UK. Depending on the situation and depending on the conditions, if it is the same situation like in Champions Trophy it will be helpful."