Krunal Pandya: ‘I wanted to win this game for my team’

The all-rounder blasted 31 off 12 balls to help Mumbai Indians defeat Kings XI Punjab.

Krunal Pandya (left) and Rohit Sharma added 56 for the fifth wicket.   -  AFP

Keen to make up for a ‘disappointing’ failure with the bat against Royal Challengers Bangalore earlier this week, Krunal Pandya was happy to contribute to Mumbai Indians’ six-wicket win on Friday.

Krunal blasted 31 off just 12 balls to help Mumbai Indians gallop to victory. “I was disappointed that I could not deliver when I was presented with a similar opportunity in the last match at Bengaluru; we had needed about 60 runs in the last five overs,” he said shortly after his heroics. “That motivated me; I wanted to win this game for my team.”

It was his unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 56 with skipper Rohit Sharma (24, 15b) that took Mumbai Indians to its third win of the season. The captain also became the first Indian batsman to hit 300 sixes in T20s. This was the 17th time he remained unbeaten during a successful chase, beating the record of Gautam Gambhir.

Potent finisher

“Now you know why Rohit comes lower down the order,” said Krunal. “He hit those fours and sixes that turned the match around.”

Kings XI Punjab captain R. Ashwin praised his counterpart. “There are not many games that Rohit doesn’t finish when is batting till the 20th over,” he said. “We had felt we had a good chance after 15 overs.”

He felt his team’s score was short by some 10 runs. “But I don’t think we played badly,” he said. “But it is a difficult ground to defend.”