April 18, 2024

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There just doesn’t seem to be respite in store for Hardik Pandya. Already one of the most criticised players in the Indian Premier League, Hardik’s troubles worsened as Rajasthan Royals secured a comfortable victory over the 5-time champions on Monday. Hardik, who continues to be surrounded by fans boos wherever he goes, was spotted spending some time alone in the MI dugout after the bitter result against RR.

It was a heart-breaking sighting seeing Hardik all down and low as the Mumbai Indians players headed out of the stadium following the conclusion of the match. Here’s the video:

The Royals emerged triumphant on the back of a Yuzvendra Chahal (3/11) and Trent Boult (3/22) combined effort to suffocate Mumbai Indians with the bat, restricting them to 125/9. Riyan Parag (54 not out) then churned out yet another top-drawer knock to take Rajasthan Royals to the first spot in the IPL points table.

Even though commentator and former India and Mumbai player Sanjay Manjrekar appealed to the crowd to “behave”, the boos continued until Pandya hit a few fours to bring smile back on Mumbai fans after their side was left reeling at 20/4 inside the powerplay.

Pandya top-scored with 34 for Mumbai in his bid to turn the brickbats into cheers but Rajasthan came out on top on every moment in the game, which was underlined by special bowling efforts from Chahal, Boult as well as Nandre Burger (2/32), who were all backed by excellent fielding.

Boult struck early with a three-wicket burst inside the powerplay and Chahal made life miserable for rest of the batters in the following overs to return brilliant figures 3/11 in four overs, accounting for Pandya, Tilak Varma (32) and Gerald Coetzee (4).

If Chahal suffocated the MI batters in the middle overs while stopping both Pandya and Varma in their tracks, it was Boult who ran riot in the home side’s top order, dismissing Rohit Sharma, Naman Dhir and Dewald Brevis for first-ball ducks.

The tone was set in the first over itself by Boult who rocked the Mumbai Indians twice, including the priced scalp of Rohit who was out for a golden duck.

Dhir (0) was guilty of walking across the wickets and failing to cover Boult’s in-swing, with the ball crashing into his pads. A DRS appeal was eventually burned since the ball tracking showed it would have clipped the leg stump.

Mumbai’s situation worsened when impact player Brevis (0) played one meekly to short third on another delivery angling away from the right-hander off Boult in the third over, with Nandre Burger (2/32) taking a sharp reverse cupped catch.

Pandya, who was booed from all parts of the ground here, walked to a similar reception but a brief fightback from him turned the negative noise into cheers.

The Mumbai skipper showed intent when he hit three fours off Burger in the sixth over, but it was Chahal who brought an end to Pandya’s resistance.

With PTI inputs

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