'Hardik Pandya Rashid Khan Ko Face Nahi Karna Chahte The..', Irfan Pathan Brutally Analyses MI Captain's Tactical Errors In IPL 2024 Loss To GT Irfan Pathan slams Hardik Pandya. (Image: Instagram/AP)

Mumbai Indians (MI) captain Hardik Pandya did not get a dreamy start to his IPL 2024 campaign, losing the opening match to Gujarat Titans (GT) on Sunday night. He faced brutal online trolling throughout the match and received booeing too from the Ahmedabad crowd. He captained GT for two seasons, taking them to a title win in the maiden season and till finals the second time. His decision to leave GT for MI has not gone down well with the Gujarat fans who showed their disappointment by booeing the MI captain at the toss.

Also Read | Rohit Sharma’s Animated Argument With MI Captain Hardik Pandya Post Loss To GT Goes Viral; Watch

On social media, Hardik received hate for ‘ordering’ former captain Rohit Sharma to field in the deep. Fans put out their anger on social media over how Hardik led as they could see an attitude problem with Hardik. After the match, a heated chat between Rohit and Hardik added fuel to the fire.

Coming to Hardik’s captaincy, there was nothing much to take away from it. He won the toss and opted to bowl first and the bowlers delivered too, restricting GT to 168 for 6 in 20 overs. But as a batting unit, MI failed. They could not chase the target despite being in a commanding position right from the start and former India bowler Irfan Pathan blamed it on MI.

Irfan said that Hardik should have come on to bat earlier than he did, facing the likes of Rashid Khan himself. But it seems, Irfan says, Hardik was avoiding facing Rashid. Irfan pointed out other areas too where Hardik faltered as captain on Day 1 as MI skipper.

“When he came to bowl in the powerplay, he bowled 2 overs himself, that was one mistake. Second mistake was he sent Tim David ahead of him during the chase even when Rashid Khan had one over left. I felt Hardik did not want to face Rashid as he has not played cricket for a long time. Maybe that was one reason. I cannot see any logic otherwise that an Indian international batter, who has so much experience of batting in such situation, sitting in the dressing room and an overseas batter is sent to bat in a pressure situation,” said Irfan.

MI now fly to Hyderabad to face Sunrisers on March 27. Hardik feels they can make a strong comeback in the next game. They made some errors and need to learn quickly to bounce back.

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