IPL 9: I was surprised to receive Man-of-the-Match award, says Krunal Pandya

Mumbai Indians' Krunal Pandya expresses surprise after being rewarded the Player of the Match award for his figures of 4-0-15-1 vs RCB on Wednesday

Bangalore: The Mumbai Indians team management sent Hardik Pandya for the customary pre-match press conference on Tuesday only to drop him for the game on Wednesday.

Mumbai Indians' Krunal Pandya celebrates the wicket of RCB's AB de Villiers at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in B'lore on Wednesday. Pic/PTI
Mumbai Indians' Krunal Pandya celebrates the wicket of RCB's AB de Villiers at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in B'lore on Wednesday. Pic/PTI

However, it was the Pandyas who had the last laugh as the other Pandya, Krunal, made it to the post-match meet having earned himself the Man-of-the-Match award.

Was he surprised that his effort of 4-0-15-1 was rewarded thus, more so given the trend of batsmen usually walking with the honours? "Yeah, I must say I was surprised. It's good that a bowler got picked as Man of the Match in this format," said a grinning Krunal.

The choice was not the obvious one but then that's what the experts are there for, aren't they… And Krunal did indeed put the squeeze on the Royal Challengers Bangalore batting, giving away a mere two runs in his opening over, bowled inside the Powerplay. The wicket of AB de Villiers, just as he threatened to cut loose, was just the icing.

"I am really happy with the way I bowled today and getting the result we got feels really good," added Krunal, who went to explain that it was not a typical M Chinnaswamy Stadium track that this game was played on.

"The wicket wasn't the normal Bangalore wicket. In today's game it was on the slower side and the ball was gripping slightly," revealed Krunal before going on to explain why his team too started slowly.

"When we went to bat, our main plan was to keep wickets towards the backend. On this ground if you need 50-60 in five overs it is gettable because the ground is small."

Lokesh Rahul, the young man who did his best to keep the RCB innings going even as Krunal kept things tight, too agreed that the pitch was different.

"After losing Virat and Chris early, we had to change plans obviously. The wicket was sticky, a bit damp so it wasn't easy to go out there and start hitting the ball straightaway. That's what me and AB discussed — to take our time initially and if we batted out 10 overs, then we could look at a target after that," explained Rahul, while going to point out that: "Obviously in the second innings it got easier to bat."

Mumbai Indians' chances of finishing in the top four too got a little easier, or at least it has been kept afloat for the moment.

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