Cricket

IPL 2018: Hardik is an exceptional talent, says JP Duminy

Duminy

Kolkata: Mumbai Indians star left hand batsman JP Duminy has termed India’s all-rounder Hardik Pandya as an exceptional talent. Hardik has taken 14 wickets till now in the Indian Premier League and the contender of the purple cap as well.

"He's been an exceptional talent. One of those who backs himself in pressure moments. He's a pressure moment player who stand up and execute to the best of his ability," said Duminy.

Pandya smacked an unbeaten 20-ball 35 in the previous game when Mumbai middle order flopped once again after Suryakumar Yadav and Evin Lewis gave the Rohit Sharma-led side a blistering start.

Pandya combined some innovative shots - including a scoop over his shoulder and a one-handed six over long-off - with a couple of fortunate edged boundaries in the last over - bowled by the debutant Krishna rather than Russell or Mitchell Johnson - to give Mumbai what proved a vital run cushion in the end.

Pandya was brilliant in the 18th over as well, using short pitched deliveries to good effect and applying the choke on KKR when they needed (43 runs required from 18 balls. Pandya returned impressive figures of 2/19 in four overs.

Pandya has so far taken 14 wickets in nine matches, the joint highest wicket-taker along with Umesh Yadav (14 scalps in 10 matches).

Mumbai were slow to get off the blocks in the opening few matches before picking up pace in the last two matches. Placed fifth with eight points from 10 games, Mumbai are a rung below KKR who are in fourth spot. With four games to be played, Duminy said they will continue to play aggressive cricket which has helped them turn the tide in their favour.

"What's been great about our team is that we recognised that we need to take the responsibiliy and change the fortunes around," Duminy said.

"The manner in which we have played our cricket in the few days epitomised the brand of cricket we play and that's aggressive one. We take the bull by the horns. We obviously want to try and win every game from here on," he added.

Mumbai have won 17 times against KKR out of their 21 meetings. On top of that, their 13-run win against KKR just three days back gives them the edge.

"Momentum is key. This is the first time in the tournament we experienced winning back to back games. But it's a fresh game, a fresh start," Duminy said.

"We can't be living in the past or past success. We want to make sure what challenge lies in front of us. KKR would like to want to come back fighting. Also in a position where they want to win. We will want to make sure we are smart, clinical in executing the skills."

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