Hardik Pandya, MI, IPL 2018, purple cap
Hardik Pandya achieved the purple cap with 14 wickets AFP

Soon after his Man-of-the-Match effort in Mumbai Indians‘ crucial win over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League today, all-rounder Hardik Pandya said he has stopped practising batting. Pandya notched up a 20-ball 35 not out in MI’s match-winning total of 181 at the Wankhede Stadium before capturing 2 for 19 to snatch the purple cap by becoming the leading wicket-taker with 14 scalps to his credit.

“I am not doing anything (different). It is just that someday it comes off. I have stopped practising (batting). I am someone who thinks differently. I am actually just being positive. It’s all about one hit, to be honest. You score one six and all of a sudden the momentum shifts and everything changes,” Pandya said when asked about his batting.

MI won the game by 13 runs after restricting KKR to 168 for six. “Obviously if people bowl well I have (to) respect (them) and can’t do anything. No one can do anything. My game is something that I am positive (about) from my mind and it comes off,” the hard-hitting batsman added.

“It is a good thing. It was not my effort. Koshish nahi thi (had not strived for it). But the cap is there if you take wickets and I am happy,” he remarked about wearing the purple cap. “The team is quite positive and we have to think that we are going to make it. As a team we believe that we can do this and we have done it in the past though it is a bit difficult to do it,” he said about MI’s back-to-back wins.

Losing team’s captain Dinesh Karthik said that he had to change the opening pair as regular innings launcher Sunil Narine felt unwell. “He was not feeling well, that’s why he went out of the field in the 18th-19th over,” said Karthik. KKR started the run-chase with youngster Shubman Gill partnering Chris Lynn and the team slumped to 28 for two at the start of the fourth over.

Karthik defended his move in not giving Andre Russell, who was brought on as the seventh bowler, his full quota of four overs in spite of taking a wicket each in his first two overs. “Yes, that’s true but we have a certain role for Russell in the team on what stage of the game he bowls. On this day he bowled well but on other days he goes for boundaries.

“Over a period of days we have figured out how to get the best out of him,” said the wicketkeeper-batsman. Karthik praised Jasprit Bumrah for upsetting his plans in the 19th over of the run-chase with some good death bowling. “I thought I could take on Bumrah, hit him for a couple of sixes and backed myself to get 20 in the last over. Sometimes it does not go your way. (We) still got 14 runs off that over. He got good bounce. Credit to Bumrah, he bowled well.”