Gujarat Titans captain Hardik Pandya took full responsibility for his team’s unexpected five-run defeat to Delhi Capitals on Tuesday (May 2) in Ahmedabad. While chasing a par total of 130, the Titans’ chase was anchored by Hardik Pandya who was playing steadily and hit a half-century but he was unable to take the team to the finish line.

“I tried my best but could not capitalise. It boils down to me,” Hardik Pandya said at the post-match presentation. “Obviously, we would have taken 129 [131-run target] on any given day. [We] just lost a couple of wickets and at the end, Rahul got us back in the game.”

Unlike their usual run-chasing trend, Gujarat Titans had a poor start early in their innings, losing four wickets inside the seven-over as well, including the pivotal ones of Shubman Gill and David Miller. Because of that Hardik Pandya, alongside young Abhinav Manohar had to steady the ship with a partnership as well.

Hardik’s pacing of his innings was similar to the tempo he had during the afternoon game against Lucknow Super Giants, except that he was able to hit a few maximums at the backend in that game – something that he wasn’t able to manage this time around. In fact, the all-rounder couldn’t find the fence in the last 13 balls of his innings at a phase when the asking rate had shot up drastically.

“We were hoping to get a couple of big overs in the middle but at that point of time we could not get rhythm,” he said. “It was new for Abhinav as well. It boils down to how I was not able to finish the game. Full marks to their bowlers as well and full ownership on my side where I could not finish the game I should’ve.”

IPL 2023: “It was more about the pressure of [losing] wickets” – Hardik Pandya

IPL 2023: "It was more about the pressure of [losing] wickets" - Hardik Pandya
IPL 2023: “It was more about the pressure of [losing] wickets” – Hardik Pandya

“It was more about the pressure of [losing] wickets,” he again said. “I don’t think the [track] played much role. It was a tad slower than what we are used to here. But they bowled really well. We lost a couple of early wickets and then we had to take some time. We could not get the rhythm in the middle. Rahul brought us back into the game. Otherwise, they were quite ahead.”

Since David Miller’s exit in the seventh over, only one boundary (a six) was played until the 14th over and it’s during this phase that the Delhi Capitals bowlers managed to keep the pressure intact. Titans wanted to take the game deep, depending on the power game of their finishers to reach the finish line. But this time, their plan didn’t work as well.

“Intent had to be there. It’s just that we lost a couple of wickets where if you keep losing wickets, it’s difficult to keep the intent as well. We lost because I could not get my rhythm and we kept losing wickets at the start and that put us under pressure. We like to take it deep and hope to get a couple of big overs which we could not get,” Hardik Pandya stated.

“I feel sorry for [Shami]. If you bowl like that, then you restrict the team to 129 [130], I think [our] batters disappointed. I don’t think the ball did a lot. It’s just that Mohammed Shami’s skillset he has and he made the ball talk. Otherwise, I think for fast bowlers, the wicket did not have much assistance. But the way he bowled four on the trot and got us in the game, full credit [to him]. As I said, batters and particularly myself did not finish and we disappointed him,” Hardik Pandya concluded.

However, the defeat was Gujarat Titans’ first of the season in a run chase and only the second time among 14 games. They will next play in Jaipur against the Rajasthan Royals on Friday (May 5).

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