Mumbai Indians’ Skipper Hardik Pandya Credits Matheesha Pathirana for Chennai Super Kings’ Victory

Matheesha Pathirana

Matheesha Pathirana. (Photo Credit: Chennai Super Kings Facebook Page)

According to Times of India, Mumbai Indians’ captain Hardik Pandya pointed to the game-changing performance of Chennai Super Kings’ Impact Substitute, Sri Lankan bowler Matheesha Pathirana, as a key factor in their 20-run loss in the 29th match of the Indian Premier League at Wankhede Stadium.

Pathirana delivered an impactful bowling spell, claiming 4 wickets for 28 runs over his four overs, which crucially shifted the match’s momentum. His efforts were particularly notable after Mumbai had gotten off to a strong start, standing at 70 without loss in the eighth over. Pathirana’s dismissals of key batsmen Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav played a significant role in destabilizing Mumbai’s batting lineup, despite a commendable century from their former captain, Rohit Sharma.

Pandya’s strategy to field first proved disadvantageous, especially during his own encounter with the veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni, where he conceded 20 runs in just four deliveries. Pandya himself managed only two runs from six balls, contributing little to Mumbai’s ultimately unsuccessful chase. This marked Mumbai’s fourth defeat in their first six matches.

Reflecting on the match, Pandya conceded that the opposition’s tactical execution, particularly by Pathirana, was decisive. “The target was definitely achievable, but their bowling was on point and Pathirana made the difference. They utilized the longer boundary effectively,” Pandya commented during the post-match presentation.

He also hinted at the strategic insights provided by the seasoned Dhoni to the CSK team, which might have given them an upper hand. “They adapted well, with Dhoni guiding them from behind the stumps. The ball was gripping a bit, and they leveraged that to get ahead,” Pandya added.

Pandya’s decisions during the game, especially not using bowlers Mohammad Nabi and Shreyas Gopal for their full potential spells, raised questions among cricket analysts. Nabi had given away only 19 runs in three overs, and Gopal had secured one wicket for nine runs in a single over. Nonetheless, Pandya chose to bowl the crucial final over himself, during which Dhoni took heavy advantage.

On his choice of bowlers for the final overs, Pandya explained, “It was just about what was best at that point.” He noted the difficulty of hitting seamers on that particular wicket, even though Shivam Dube was at the crease.

Looking ahead, Pandya remained optimistic. “We are on the road for the next four games. If we play smart, we can achieve our goals,” he concluded, signaling hope for a turnaround in the team’s fortunes.