“With His Mind…”: Hardik Pandya Sums Up Challenge Of Playing Against MS Dhoni

Gujarat Titans (GT) skipper Hardik Pandya wasn’t regretful after facing a defeat at the hands of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) Qualifier 1 on Tuesday. Chasing a target of 173 runs, the defending champions’ innings ended 15 runs short of the total MS Dhoni’s side had put on the board. After the game, Hardik admitted that the brilliance of Dhoni, the captain, makes the opposition team feel that his team has put 10 runs more (than the actual score) on the board.

Dhoni remains one of the most clever cricketers in the world, and he proved that again with his field setting and decision-making on the field against Gujarat. When Hardik was asked about the challenge of playing against Dhoni, he answered the question in brilliant fashion.

“That’s the beauty about him (Dhoni), with his mind and the way he uses the bowlers, he’ll make sure that you’ll feel like he’s adding 10 runs. We kept losing wickets, he kept making sure that he used the right bowlers, happy for him as well. It would be a really good sight to meet him on Sunday if we can win the next game,” he said.

After opting to bowl first, Gujarat restricted Super Kings to 172/7. Ruturaj Gaikwad starred with the bat as he hit a flamboyant 60(44) to lay the platform. Ambati Rayudu (17 off 9) and Ravindra Jadeja (22 off 16) then played brisk knocks to provide a crucial late flourish and take CSK to a competitive 172/7. Titans struggled throughout the chase and were eventually bundled out for 157.

Hardik said that some ‘basic errors’ cost his team the match.

“I think we were quite spot on [with the ball]But we made basic errors. And I think that cost us the game. After the first innings, the kind of wicket and at the same point of time the kind of bowlers we had, I felt we exactly went 15 runs above the score where we should have stopped them,” Hardik said in a post-match presentation.

“A lot of things we did right. I think it’s just that we bowled a couple of soft-balls in between. We were executing quite some plans and all of a sudden in between we gave some runs … where we must have given soft-balls,” he added.

“No, no, I don’t think so. You know regrets are not good in life. We expected dew might come. It did not come but still I think we gave 15 runs extra and as a batting unit we lost wickets and we were always chasing the game,” Hardik said when asked if he regretted his decision at the toss.

With 27 needed off the last over, Gujarat Titans could manage just 11 runs as Pathirana picked up the final wicket of Shami to spark wild celebrations in the stands as CSK marched into their 10th IPL final, more than any other team in the competition.

With ANI inputs

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