‘Hardik Pandya made big mistakes’ - Former cricketer criticises MI captain after narrow loss to Gujarat Titans

Hardik Pandya's first match as Mumbai Indians captain didn't exactly pan out as he might have expected as his team lost to Gujarat Titans in a nail-biting finish.

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After a shocking loss to Gujarat Titans, Mumbai Indians have been put under the scanner and criticized for their questionable decision making. MI captain Hardik Pandya is at the forefront of all. Some of his decisions in the match raised eyebrows and he was also unable to finish the game for his team in the last over.

At one stage, Mumbai needed 43 off 33 balls with 7 wickets in hand. Tilak Varma and Dewald Brevis were at the crease with big-hitters Tim David and Hardik Pandya to follow. But Gujarat pulled the game back with some smart bowling  In the end, the Titans won the match by 6 runs. Hardik Pandya tried his best in the last over by scoring 10 runs off the first two balls. But Umesh Yadav used his experience and did enough to win the game for GT.

‘Hardik Pandya made big mistakes’ - Irfan Pathan criticises MI captain

Hardik Pandya opened the bowling for MI despite having a bowler like Jasprit Bumrah in the ranks. The MI skipper gave away 20 runs in his first two overs. Former India allrounder Irfan Pathan questioned Pandya's tactics at various stages of the game.

"Hardik Pandya made big mistakes in the match. In the powerplay, he bowled 2 overs himself, that was a big mistake. He brought Jasprit Bumrah into the attack a bit late," Irfan said.

Pathan also felt that sending Tim David ahead of Hardik Pandya wasn't the best decision when Rashid Khan was bowling. David scored 11 runs off 10 balls and struggled for timing during his stay.

"And secondly, when they were chasing, they sent Tim David higher up the order. He sent Tim David when Rashid Khan had an over left. I felt Hardik Pandya maybe didn't want to face Rashid Khan after having not played cricket for a long time. This could be the case. I won't agree with the fact that there was an experienced Indian batter sitting in the dressing room and sent an overseas player under pressure against Rashid," Irfan wondered.

Hardik Pandya defends Tilak Varma

In the 17th over of the match when Rashid Khan was bowling, Tilak Varma nudged the ball towards deep midwicket but strangely refused the single. The move raised many eyebrows from the commentators who felt Tim David, who was at the non-striker's end, had a better strike rate than Tilak in the last few games. But captain Hardik Pandya defended Varma and showed faith in his ability.

"I think Tilak felt that that was a better idea at that point of time, I completely backed him, not an issue, 13 games to go," Hardik said.

"It feels good to be back because this is one stadium where you can enjoy and feel the atmosphere quite lively and obviously the crowd was full and they got a good game as well," MI captain said of the atmosphere inside the Narendra Modi Stadium.

Also read: 'He told me to be calm:' GT fast bowler Spencer Johnson after the thrilling win over MI

Despite losing the match, Mumbai Indians had some positives. The performance of experienced players Jasprit Bumrah and Rohit Sharma was a big plus for them and it will give them confidence for the upcoming games. They now move to Hyderabad to face SRH on March 27.

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