“Back My Decision…”: Hardik Pandya, the captain of the Gujarat Tigers, explains his surprising decision to bat first against the Punjab Kings.

The choice to bat first against the odds did not pay off, but it was something the Gujarat Titans needed to do to break out of their comfort zone ahead of the IPL’s larger battles, according to captain Hardik Pandya. Titans, who have eight victories from ten games and are expected to make the play-offs, were defeated by Punjab by eight wickets on Tuesday. Titans were reduced to 143 for eight, which Punjab were able to chase down in 16 overs.

 

“We didn’t even come close to achieving a par score.” 170 would have been great, but we kept losing wickets and never came close to getting there. With the bat, I backed ourselves up; batting first wasn’t a bad decision; we needed to bat first, We needed to come out of our comfort zone,” said Hardik.

“We have chased well in this competition, and we have to know how to establish objectives if necessary (later in the tournament).” This is all part of the learning process, but it’s all about learning to push ourselves out of our comfort zones.

“Even when we were winning, we were always talking about improving; we’d speak about things that didn’t go our way today and how we’d come back stronger in the next game.” Mayank Agarwal, Punjab’s captain, praised his squad after the much-needed victory. He chose to slide down the order to make room for Jonny Bairstow and Shikhar Dhawan at the top.

He explained the action by saying: “We’re attempting to elicit the best performance from Jonny. He’s done a great job with the opening. ‘It’s fine, I’ll bat at four and anchor the innings at four,’ I said. It was clear with Livi that Shikhar would bat first and Livi could go out and play the way he wanted. The way he played was fantastic; he grabbed the score swiftly “Agarwal stated.