IPL 2023: Hardik Pandya as captain is growing and improving, says Aakash Chopra

Hardik Pandya-led GT picked up an emphatic 55-run win in the IPL 2023 over the Mumbai Indians on Tuesday (April 25) at the Narendra Modi International Stadium, Ahmedabad.

The Titans set a target of 208, courtesy a brilliant half-century by Shubman Gill (56 off 34 balls) along with important contributions from David Miller (46 off 22 balls)) and Abhinav Manohar (42 off 21 balls).

In response, Mumbai could reach only 152 with their highest scorer being Nehal Wadhera with 40 runs off 21 balls. The Afghanistan spin twins – Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmad picked up five wickets between each other.

With that win, Gujarat has grabbed the second spot in the team standings, trailing to Chennai Super Kings in only net run rate, with both teams having 10 points each. This was GT’s second successive win.

Hardik Pandya won the IPL as a first-time captain with the Titans last season and looks to repeat that triumph. And JioCinema IPL expert Aakash Chopra said the progress in his impact as a captain has been noticeably positive.

“Hardik’s captaincy just seems to keep improving. Mohit wasn’t playing well but he still sent him to bowl the final over and take crucial wickets even though he could’ve done that himself as a captain,” Chopra said.

“He changed Mohit’s day from bad to good to maintain his confidence. I think Hardik Pandya as a captain is growing and maturing.”

Hardik Pandya Captaincy Record and Stats in IPLHardik Pandya Captaincy Record and Stats in IPL

Chopra also added an error in decision in an earlier game has helped Hardik learn how to use the bowling options especially when there is threat of dew in the second half of the match.

“It’s hard to win a match from a defensive position, we’ve seen this in the IPL. The point about captaincy was very salient. The game started with fast bowlers bowling quite often with discipline due to the movement of the ball,” Chopra added.

“Soon after, spinners were introduced at the right time. They made an error last game in judging the dew and brought Noor at the end and Hetmyer punished him. He learned from that and ensured Noor’s overs were done earlier. Rashid and Noor, two spinners with five wickets.”

Hardik has so far led the Gujarat Titans in 21 matches and has a win percentage of 76.19%, having been on the winning side in 16 matches. Captaincy has also brought some calm to Pandya’s game.

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