The experiment of using Hardik Pandya in the top order definitely turned out to be a poor move from the Mumbai Indians’ point of view. After inserting the all rounder at number 3 for a few games, the management of the defending champions went back to the dependable Ambati Rayudu for batting at number 3.
In their previous game against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rayudu did a decent job after he steadied the Mumbai ship in the midst of a collapse. The right-hander also went on to register his first half-century of the season and looked in decent form. Ahead of their all-important game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, it will be essential for the top order of Mumbai Indians to do well.
In the pre match press conference, Mumbai Indians coach Ricky Ponting admitted that Rayudu would continue batting at number 3. “Rayudu also has excelled when he has batted at No. 6. He has won games while batting for us there. So we didn’t want to shake that up and we gave Hardik a chance at No. 3. In his domestic career, he has batted at the top of the order. But I guess it is fair to say that the experiment to push Pandya at three didn’t work for us. Rayudu played well in the last game and it is likely that he will remain at three,” said Ponting.
Ponting also hinted that Kieron Pollard could have to miss out again if Martin Guptill was given a longer run. “Guptill has played only one game. Buttler was out early in the first game but played a match-winning innings in the second game. I think he was unlucky to get out in the last two games. He is a match-winner. We have seen in the T20 World Cup and we will definitely stick with Buttler for a while.”
The former Australian captain was full in awe of skipper Rohit Sharma’s ability to bat anywhere in the order. “The beauty of Rohit Sharma in this team is that he is willing to do whatever he feels is right for the team. We decided last night to make the change and bring in Martin Guptill so Rohit slipped down the order,” Ponting said.
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