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'Hardik Pandya Didn't Want to Face....' -Former Indian Pacer Attacks MI Captain

Hardik Pandya in the frame alongside Shubman Gill (AP Photo)Hardik Pandya in the frame alongside Shubman Gill (AP Photo)

Mumbai Indians continued their tradition of losing the first game of the IPL, even with a change in leadership. The last time they won their opening match was under the captaincy of Harbhajan Singh. 

Despite having leaders like Ricky Ponting, Rohit Sharma, and now Hardik, MI has struggled to secure victory in their first match. 

What's different this time is that analysts are criticizing the captain for making wrong decisions during the game. Former Indian left-arm seamer Irfan Pathan suggested that Hardik was hesitant to face Rashid Khan, which is why he sent Tim David ahead of himself in the batting order.

Mumbai Indians suffered a disappointing loss despite a strong position in the chase. With the way Rohit batted in middle of the roaring crowd along with inform Dewald Brevis, they just needed just 43 runs from 30 balls. 

However, Hardik's decision to send Tim David, who struggles against spin, ahead of himself puzzled many. 

Tilak Varma, partnering David, tried to protect him from Rashid Khan, but this too backfired. And good overs from Rashid and Mohit Sharma turned the tide. 

In the final over, MI needed 19 runs, and although Hardik hit a six and a four, he lost his wicket to Umesh Yadav.

Hardik scared of facing Rashid?

Irfan Pathan criticized Hardik Pandya for not coming to bat earlier, suggesting that Indian batters generally handle spinners better than foreigners. 

"I felt Hardik Pandya maybe didn't want to face Rashid Khan after having not played cricket for a long time. This could be the case. I won't agree with the fact that there was an experienced Indian batter sitting in the dressing room and sent an overseas player under pressure against Rashid," Irfan said.

Irfan Pathan also expressed dissatisfaction with Hardik Pandya's decision to open the bowling, especially considering the presence of Bumrah and Coetzee. This move resulted in Hardik conceding over 20 runs in his first two overs.

"Hardik Pandya made big mistakes in the match. In the powerplay, he bowled 2 overs himself, that was a big mistake. He brought Jasprit Bumrah into the attack a bit late," Irfan Pathan added.

Mumbai Indians will face Sunrisers Hyderabad in their next game, which is scheduled to take place in Hyderabad on Wednesday.