Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 26 May 2019

India's Hardik Pandya aims for World Cup with IPL 2019 title in the bag

All-rounder, who dreamed of doing the IPL-World Cup double this year, determined to 'tick that box' in England and Wales

Hardik Pandya was in cracking form with bat and ball for Mumbai Indians this year. R Parthibhan / AP Photo
Hardik Pandya was in cracking form with bat and ball for Mumbai Indians this year. R Parthibhan / AP Photo

Hardik Pandya says he is now focused on adding a World Cup-winners medal to his growing collection, after claiming a third Indian Premier League title on Sunday night.

The India all-rounder played a relatively low-key role in Mumbai Indians’ one-run win over Chennai Super Kings in Hyderabad, making 16 with the bat, and bowling just one over.

His performances in getting the franchise to that point, however, had been spectacular.

The title was the third of his career to date, having been part of Mumbai’s wins in 2015 and 2017.

He will now join up with the India squad aiming to regain the World Cup trophy they last won on home soil in 2011.

“My plan was to win this IPL, now all the focus goes on the World Cup,” Hardik said, in his post-match television interview. “I want to lift that trophy as well, I want to tick that box.”

Success has been all the sweeter for Pandya as it has come in the colours of the side he supported as a youngster, as well as alongside his brother Krunal.

“Before I made my debut, I had Mumbai Indians wallpaper on my phone,” Hardik said. “Five years down the line, with three trophies, it is a dream. This guy [Krunal] is a pillar in my life, and he will be always.

“Lots of people were saying we had already won three times against [CSK] this year, so the fourth time might be their chance.

“We were telling each other it would be 4-0. I think I lost a couple of kgs today. It was that tight.”

Left-arm spinner Krunal did play a key role in the final. Although his three overs were relatively expensive, as he went for 39, he did pick up the wicket of Faf du Plessis, and later affected a vital run out, that of CSK’s top-scorer Shane Watson.

“It is a dream come true for us,” Krunal said, in his post-match flash interview on TV.

“From our childhood days, we have wanted to play together at a good level, playing for the country, and playing IPL for such a big franchise.

“When we were not playing, Mumbai Indians were our dream team, as was representing them on occasions like this.”

Updated: May 13, 2019 10:17 AM

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