Hardik Pandya showed why he was rated as the best captain and leader from the front when he bowled four overs of fire to knock the stuffing out of Rajasthan Royals and restrict them to a below par score of 130 in their 20 overs in the final of the IPL.
Pandya came on to bowl when Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson were putting on a decent partnership. He first got Samson with a ball which was quick. Samson was late on the pull to be caught by Sai.
He then got the big wicket of Buttler with a beautiful out swinger which got the prolific run scorer edging to Saha. He was not done when he deceived the dangerous Shimron Hetmyer and had him caught and bowled. From 50 for one in seven overs, Rajasthan just could not get their innings going.
That was due to the smart captaincy of Pandya who brought on the right bowlers and they did not disappoint him be it the ever reliable Rashid Khan, young left arm spinner Sai Kishore or Mohammed Shami and never allowed any batsman of Rajasthan an inch to free their arms.
When chasing the small target, Titans were in a spot of bother loosing Saha and Wade, Pandya walked in and played the situation. He kept his calm and guided Gill who was a bit edgy and scored a vital 34 and put on a vital partnership and took the score to 86 before he got out but the damage was done and it was too late for the Royals to lead a fight back.
This was without a doubt the best example of a captain leading from the front and marshalling his troops to get the maximum out of them. That they dominated the league phase and were at the top of the table is down to the skipper. Every player put their hand up when needed and bailed the team out and won matches losing positions.
Pandya had said he was worried his luck might run out one day but when you have a captain who leads from the front and calls the right shots, even luck can’t go against that team and Pandya proved it in this IPL to lead his team to their first title in their first ever outing. Take a bow, Pandya.