His own knock was crucial in Mumbai Indians chasing down a stiff 171-run target but skipper Rohit Sharma chose to credit all-rounder Krunal Pandya for the IPL win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, saying that the youngster is proving to be a game-changer in every match.
Krunal Pandya (Pic/AFP). Inset: Rohit Sharma
Mumbai defeated Bangalore by six wickets last night with Krunal, who is the brother of India player Hardik Pandya, grabbing 2/27 in his four overs. "He (Krunal) has been impressive. Even in the first game he played here against Gujarat Lions, he did not get wickets but bowled four overs for just 20 runs and, then he did it
with the bat in Hyderabad, scored 49 off just 25-26 balls and again today getting those two big important wickets in the middle (A B de Villiers and Virat Kohli) was very crucial from the team's perspective," Rohit said in the post-match press conference.
"I think he has got something about him, he knows his bowling really well and he understands the conditions really well, so it makes my job easier as a captain he sets his own field which is I think very crucial. It shows that you have got lot of confidence into your bowling," he added. RCB seemed set for a big score when Kohli (33) and de Villiers (29) were marching ahead but Krunal picked up both of them in a single over and halted the momentum.
Rohit also stressed on the importance of having the right team combination and said the team's theory of playing two overseas seamers has been helpful. "That theory (playing two overseas seamers) has worked for us over the years," he said.
Rohit said since he has luxury of having five bowlers, he can mix the attack well. ".. that is something which will keep going and as far as our batting is concerned, it looks more settled with (Ambati) Rayadu batting at three and myself batting at the top of the order. We wanted Pollard to get back in form as quickly as
possible and today was a perfect day for him," he added. Pollard made a 19-ball 40 yesterday.
RCB spinner Iqbal Abdulla said Rohit made all the difference with his 44-ball knock which included four hits to the fence and three over it. "...it depended on the bowlers but (Mumbai Indians) batted well especially Rohit (Sharma) and later on Kieren Pollard, he batted well," he said.
On Kohli, de Villiers' dismissal in one over being the turning point, Abdulla said, "Yes, if your best batsman get out, who is making runs for your team, then it definitely, in a small way, costs the team".