Gujarat Titans captain Hardik Pandya accepted entire responsibility for his team’s shocking five-run loss against Delhi Capitals on Tuesday (May 2) in Ahmedabad. The Titans’ chase was spearheaded by Hardik, who was unusually placid in his half-century hit and was unable to add the finishing touches as he had planned.
“I tried my hardest but couldn’t capitalize; it all comes down to me,” Hardik remarked after the game. “Obviously, we would have taken 129 [131-run target] on any given day. [We] just lost a couple of wickets, and at the end, Rahul got us back in the game.”
Gujarat were rocked early in their innings, losing four wickets within the first seven overs, including the crucial ones of Shubman Gill and David Miller. It meant that Hardik and young Abhinav Manohar had to soak up the pressure with a partnership that was more concerned with stabilizing the innings than with speeding up.
Hardik’s batting tempo was identical to that of the afternoon game against the Lucknow Super Giants, except that he was able to knock a few maximums at the backside in that game, something he wasn’t able to do this time. In fact, the all-rounder failed to hit the fence in the final 13 balls of his innings, at a time when the asking rate was shot up drastically.
“We were hoping to get a couple of big overs in the middle, but we couldn’t get rhythm at that point,” he explained. “It was new for Abhinav as well, and it boils down to how I wasn’t able to finish the game. Full credit to their bowlers, and full responsibility on my side for not finishing the game I should’ve.”
Prior to this game, the matches in Ahmedabad had produced relatively high-scoring games that were also successfully chased down. Batters often enjoyed striking the ball, and many boundaries were struck in those games. They were a stark contrast to the nine sixes hit in the two innings of this match. Hardik, on the other hand, didn’t think the surface was particularly difficult to bat on.
“It was more about the pressure of [losing] wickets,” he admitted. “I don’t think the [track] played much of a role. It was a little slower than what we’re used to here, but they bowled really well. We lost a couple of early wickets and then had to take some time. We couldn’t get the rhythm in the middle. Rahul brought us back into the game, but they were quite ahead.”
Since Miller’s departure in the seventh over, only one boundary (a six) had been hit until the 14th over, when the DC bowlers tightened the screws. When chasing, the Titans’ mantra has always been to take the game deep, relying on the power game of their finishers to get them there.
In a recent cricket match, Gujarat Lions captain Hardik Pandya expressed his disappointment over their loss, saying that the team lost due to a lack of intent after losing early wickets. He explained that their strategy is to take it deep and score big in the later overs, but they couldn’t execute it because of the early setbacks.
Pandya praised his bowlers, especially Mohammed Shami, who bowled a brilliant spell and picked up four wickets, restricting the opposition to a low score. He felt sorry for Shami, who did an excellent job, but the batters failed to capitalize on the momentum gained by the bowlers.
The loss was Gujarat’s first in a run chase this season and only the second in 14 games overall. Their next match is against the Rajasthan Royals on May 5 in Jaipur.