Last year, it was Hardik Pandya who became a household name overnight with his exploits in the Indian Premier League (IPL). This year, his elder brother Krunal hit the high notes and can take a lot of credit for Mumbai Indians' third IPL triumph.
On Sunday, he almost turned himself into a villain in the space of few overs when he dropped Rising Pune Supergiant's Ajinkya Rahane very early in the innings during the final here. But Krunal came back strongly to bowl some tight overs and prevent Pune from running away with the game.
MI's Krunal Pandya (right) celebrates the wicket of Gujarat Lions' Irfan Pathan with brother Hardik on April 29. Pic/AFP
The Pandya brothers are perfect for the high-pressure T20 brand of cricket. Skipper Rohit Sharma can only agree. "Hardik and Krunal give us that balance we look for in the team because of the way they bat and bowl. Sometimes, Hardik doesn't bowl much because the other five bowlers must have delivered and sometimes the same happens to Krunal. They give us the option to go in with five bowlers every time we take the field," said Rohit.
The skipper is also amazed by the brothers' energy on the field. "They are very emotional, but you can also see that they are always excited on the field. They want to contribute in some way or the other. They always try to make an impact. Not just their bowling and batting, they contribute immensely in fielding as well," said Rohit.
Both brothers are very expressive and don't hide their emotions when success comes their way. The way Krunal ran to hug Hardik after he hit the winning six against Royal Challengers Bangalore in a close match at Bangalore on April 15 bears testimony to the emotion Rohit spoke about.
He added: "Last year, Krunal was nervous to start with, but now he and Hardik know that they are core members of the squad. There is absolutely is no pressure on them and they can play freely and express themselves."
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