IPL 2023, DC vs GT: Captain Hardik Pandya said Sai Sudharsan is reaping the rewards for his hard work and backed the 21-year-old batter to do great things in the future.
New Delhi,UPDATED: Apr 5, 2023 00:12 IST
Sai Sudharsan hit an unbeaten 62 for Gujarat Titans in Delhi (AP Photo)
By India Today Sports Desk: Hardik Pandya heaped rich praise on 21-year-old Sai Sudharsan, who won his first-ever Player of the Match award for Gujarat Titans after the defending champions defeated Delhi Capitals in Match 7 of IPL 2023 in Delhi. Sai Sudharsan hit 62 not out of 46 balls as he remained unbeaten when Gujarat chased won a 163-run target with 11 deliveries to spare on Tuesday, April 4.
It was Gujarat Titans’ second-successive win in the new season after the holders outclassed Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 203 opener.
Hardik Pandya stayed back after completing his post-match presentation responsibility and cheered Sai Sudharsan on as he went up to collect the Player of the Match award. It was a beautiful gesture from captain Hardik, who has been leading from the front ever since he was named as the captain of the franchise.
IPL 2023: DC v GT Highlights | Points Table
“He has been batting beautifully. You can see the fruit of his hard work. In two years he will do something big in franchise cricket and hopefully for India,” Hardik Pandya spoke of Sai Sudharsan after Gujarat Tittans’ 6-wicket win.
Sai Sudharsan walked into bat at No. 3 at a time when Delhi Capitals pacer Anrich Nortje was bowling at full tilt. The South African pacer sent back Wriddhiman Saha and Shubman Gill with searing pace and Gujarat were in a spot of bother when they lost captain Hardik and slipped to 54 for 3 in their chase of 163.
However, Sudharsan showcased maturity and hung in there, keeping the scoreboard moving in his 53-run stand with fellow Tamil Nadu batter VIjay Shankar.
After Shankar’s exit, Sudharshan was happy to play second-fiddle to David Miller who came in and took the game by its neck. Miller remained unbeaten on 31 from 16 balls as Gujarat completed the chase in the 19th over.
Sudharsan showcased his big-hitting skills too, smashing Notje for two big sixes in the South African paceman’s final over. It was not surprising to see Sudharsan step up after a productive Vijay Hazare Trophy season when the left-hander hit 610 runs, including 3 hundreds, in 8 matches. He has been one of the most consistent batters in Tamil Nadu Premier League as well.
‘I LIKE TO BACK MYSELF’
Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya shed light on his success as Gujarat Titans captain, saying he relies on his instincts. The India all-rounder, who is touted to be the next full-time white-ball captain, said the moto of Gujarat is to have fun and the support staff, including Ashish Nehra and Gary Kirsten make sure the dressing room environment is relaxed.
“It is my instinct. I like to back myself. I’d rather back me and fall down than taking others’ decision. I’d rather land the first punch than take the first punch. We tell the boys to enjoy. It will help to take us right decisions and someone takes us through periods when needed. Whatever happens it is okay but be out happy out there and take care of each other,” he said.
Gujarat Titans will next face Kolkata Knight Riders in Ahmedabad on April 9.