Hardik Pandya: Rashid’s catch to dismiss Mayers was ‘match-changing’

Hardik Pandya: Rashid’s catch to dismiss Mayers was ‘match-changing’

Hardik Pandya has hailed Rashid Khan‘s athletic outfield catch to dismiss Kyle Mayers that broke Lucknow Super Giants’ strong opening stand as a “match-changing” effort, after Gujarat Titans prevailed by 56 runs in Ahmedabad.
Chasing 228, Mayers had powered to 48 off 31 balls in a partnership of 88 with Quinton de Kock in just 8.1 overs. Then, he top-edged a pull over square leg off a Mohit Sharma slower ball. Rashid came sprinting in, running diagonally from fine leg, then slid and dived to take the catch to his right after making a last-minute adjustment.

Super Giants lost momentum after losing Mayers and scored only 33 runs between overs 9 and 14, leaving them with too much to do in the last six.

Hardik said that Rashid’s catch was the game-changer at a time when his team was under pressure. “The way the game changed after that… at one point of time at the eighth or ninth over we were even-stevens but that catch just changed the momentum and we were able to squeeze in a couple of tight overs,” he said after the match. “And after that I think they were chasing the game more than us.

“We started controlling the game. Before that they were taking [us] on and we had to chase the game and make sure that we don’t concede as many runs and let them get into the game. So I think that catch was match-changing.”

“I think we both were driving at 100 kilometers per hour as a team but I think that bump in their innings cost them the game and got us back in the game.”

Hardik also praised his team-mates for producing a match-winning performance after only one day’s rest. Titans’ last game was on Friday night and their match against Super Giants was the afternoon game on Sunday.

“I don’t think I can ask anything better from the boys, Hardik said. “Especially, playing after one day’s gap and playing an afternoon game, the boys showed up and how.”

Mohit, who gave Titans that vital first wicket, finished with 4 for 29, his best figures in the IPL since 2014. He has 12 wickets in eight matches in IPL 2023 with an economy rate of 6.96 despite bowling many of his overs at the death.

“We keep discussing how to go about it, especially once the ball gets a little old how we can mix it up,” Mohit told broadcasters after the game. “And if I get the chance with a new ball, then what can I do with it. Today it was a day game so I knew that the wicket could get a little drier and be on the slower side so how we can mix it up in those conditions, that’s the kind of stuff I discuss with Shami.

“I have practiced the knuckle ball, but I have a slight injury on my fingers so it’s not holding, so I am not able to bowl the knuckle ball. But I am using back-of-the-hand deliveries. When it’s the second innings and there’s a bit of dew, I can’t pitch it up too much, I have to bowl it away from the batter. So I am trying to stay as far from the batter’s range as possible.

“I keep talking with Ashu Pa [Nehra] off the field. We talk a lot about bowling, what kind of balls I can bowl to different batters. Especially how we can mix up the length ball,” Mohit said. “He keeps saying that it shouldn’t be too short. It should be around top of off.”

The win against Super Giants was Titans’ eighth victory in 11 games, giving them a three-point lead over Chennai Super Kings at the top of the table.

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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