Hardik: Tilak’s lack of intent against initial spin ‘cost us the game’

Hardik: Tilak's lack of intent against initial spin 'cost us the game'

Four balls. Four singles. It is this pass through two overs from Axar Patel to Tilak Varma just before the halfway point of Mumbai Indians’ mammoth chase of 258 that could have cost them two crucial points against Delhi Capitals, in Hardik Pandya’s opinion.

Axar, the left-arm spinner, came in to bowl in the eighth over with MI 72 for 3.

He bowled six of his twelve deliveries to Tilak, a left-handed batsman and therefore a favorable matchup with Axar. The first four balls Tilak faced, he got singles with shots that did not indicate any attacking intent. Tilak then scored a six and four off the last two to take MI to 115 for 3 at the ten-over mark. With Tilak batting until the last over in MI’s ten-run defeat, Axar did not bowl again.

“Axar bowls to a left-hander [Tilak], the best option could have been to go after him,” Hardik said in the official broadcast after the match. “I think it was just a bit of game awareness that we missed. In the end that cost us the game.”

Axar conceded 24 in his two overs. Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav scored 47 in his three overs. In his first two overs, he bowled four balls to Tilak and again, there was no angry shot as Tilak got four singles. Tilak, however, faced him in his third and final over, the 15th over of the innings, and sent him for two sixes and two fours.

“Because of the way the games are going and how the players are under pressure throughout the competition, we back ourselves to do it, the confidence in ourselves [was there]” said Hardik about MI’s hopes of making the big chase. “But if I have to point out, a couple of overs in the middle, we could have had some extra chances.”

Hardik: Fraser-McGurk was ‘quite surprising’

The fact that MI had to chase such a steep target was mainly down to Jake Fraser-McGurk’s electric 27-ball 84. McGurk’s strike rate of 242 in his first ten balls is the highest among batsmen who have faced at least 50 deliveries in IPL 2024. In total, he hit 11 fours and six sixes. It was his third fifty of the season, taking his run total to 247 in five innings at a strike rate of 237.50.

“It was quite surprising the way he batted,” Hardik said. “He played very calculated shots. It was an intelligent tackle. He used the field very well; he tried to chip the ball if he was not in his goal.

“He was fantastic, he showed the bravery of youth, he came in and enjoyed the sport. It was very exciting though.”