MUMBAI: Disappointed with his team’s bowling in the death overs, Kolkata Knight Riders’ Manish Pandey said they needed to improve in this aspect of the game after Mumbai Indians pulled off a thrilling four-wicket win in an Indian Premier League game on Sunday. MI needed 64 in the final 30 balls but pulled off a sensational victory with one ball to spare, by riding on youngsters Nitish Rana and Hardik Pandya’s counter-attack, after being reduced to 119 for 5 at the beginning of the 17th over. “Even in the first game (against Gujarat Lions), we struggled with death bowling. I thought we can improve a little more. Two games in a row, and it is high time we start thinking and applying our mind about this in the meeting,” said Pandey in his post-match media conference at the Wankhede Stadium. “If bowlers hit yorkers consistently, it would be obviously difficult for the batsmen. They missed a few, we missed a few. They played very well in the end and we have to work a bit more on death bowling. We shall overcome this,” Pandey said. “It looked like we might win, but the two batsmen – Hardik (Pandya) and (Nitish) Rana – played really well. We could have bowled with a little more plan. We will bounce back,” he said confidently.
Pandey felt Hardik Pandya is growing slowly and steadily in confidence. “He is a very good player and coming up to be a very good all-rounder. We have seen how he has batted and finished games for India at number 7. Slowly, he has matured as a player. He is gaining in confidence from all these matches.” Pandey said he was satisfied with his innings of 47-ball 81 although it went in vain. “It was definitely satisfying. From where I started, I wanted to finish it, taking one over at a time and eventually stayed till the 19th over. That’s where I can play my game and finish matches.” He conceded that the dew factor worked against his team in the second innings. “The dew definitely played a big role as the ball comes on to the bat well. There is always an advantage (of batting second) if there is dew,” he said. Two MI players were off the field for different periods during the run chase, and Pandey said while captain Gautam Gambhir should be fine after recovering from cramps, he was unsure how bad was the shoulder injury sustained by Australian batsman Chris Lynn while fielding. “He (Lynn) has put icing on the shoulder and it is too early to say anything,” Pandey said about the Aussie opener. “Mumbai is really hot, it is cramps, nothing major,” he said about Gambhir’s absence during the closing stages of the game.