Mumbai, April 16: Hardik Pandya helped Mumbai Indians move up to the third place in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 points table playing a power knock to help them beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by 5 wickets at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday (April 15).
Lasith Malinga bowled a brilliant final over to restrict RCB to 171, while Hardik Pandya walked in to bat at six and provided the final flourish. Hardik scored an unbeaten 37 from 16 balls to guide Mumbai. It was double delight for Hardik as he was named in India's 15-man squad for the ICC Word Cup 2019 in England beginning on May 30.
"It is always important to have confidence behind you because the World Cup is a big stage. It will be the first time that I am playing (in it) and for me it was important to keep hitting the ball well because I was away from the game for some time and you know coming back it was important for me to perform," he said.
When asked to elaborate on his time away from the game, Hardik said: "Everyone has a setback and it was (a setback) for me, I had to improve. I got some time for my body and for the game as well. I think the time travels out, you know. It is helping me right now because I am in a good mind space and everything is coming right."
Hardik has so far scored 186 runs in IPL 2019 at an average of 46.5 and at a strike rate of 191.75. Elaborating on his consistency, he said: "I have been doing this for almost four years now. That is my role in any team which I play for. I have been practising the same thing in the net. You know, it is all about situations, you play according to the situation and if you are smart enough you will get results more often."
Looking ahead to the World Cup, Hardik said he has improved as a cricketer in the interim between ICC Champions Trophy in England in 2017 and the ICC World Cup 2019. "Obviously the Champions Trophy is in the past but as a cricketer I have changed. The conditions we have to check because the last time we went, lots of people told me it will be swinging. It is cold and all, but I have never played on a flat wicket like that before... If it is the same conditions that we had in the Champions trophy then it will be helpful," he said.
"I think cricket is the same, whether it is the World Cup or IPL. It will be the same, you know my preparations will always be the same. I will always follow my basics and that is what I have got success in so I will keep tucking myself that way," he signed off.