Pandey relieved to find form at last

Pandey relieved to find form at last

Manish Pandey en route to his half-century against RCB on Thursday. DH PHOTO/ Satish Badiger

Manish Pandey was snatched by Sunrisers Hyderabad from Kolkata Knight Riders for a whopping Rs 11 crore, the Hyderabad outfit splurging such a huge amount in an effort to provide some solidity to their middle-order.

The Karnataka batsman, however, had endured an indifferent form, aggregating less than 200 runs from his first 12 matches till Thursday’s clash against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Joining his in-form skipper Kane Williamson in the middle with the score reading 64/2 in a chase of 219, Pandey struck a blazing 38-ball 62 to get Sunrisers within a striking distance of the target. Though Sunrisers fell short by 14 runs, they would be relieved to see Pandey finding his touch ahead of the play-offs for which they have already qualified. The Karnataka batsman himself admitted that it was “high time” he performed.            

“I and everybody were waiting for this, a special knock I think,” said Pandey, more relieved than pleased. “Bangalore is pretty close to me. I thought this was one of the chances I may get to bat with some balls in hand. I was preparing myself to play accordingly and open up. It has been okay for me until now, if not as much as I expected. But it was high time now (I performed). I know we have qualified but even if I peak now and win games for my team, I think I will be really happy by the end of the season,” he offered.

Sunrisers’ middle-order has struggled to back the exploits of their top-order batsmen and it’s because of their bowlers that they have seen a remarkable surge. SRH coach Tom Moody, on Wednesday, had pinned the blame on difficult batting conditions in Hyderabad that had handicapped his middle-order. While partly agreeing to Moody’s assessment, Pandey said pitch was no excuse for lack of runs.  

“Last year when I played for KKR, we would wait to go to Hyderabad and play there because it would be a 180 wicket,” pointed out Pandey. “But this time around, I thought the wickets were not as good compared to last year. You saw a couple of games with totals of 130-140. Our bowlers though bowled really well and won the game from there. But you cannot blame the wicket. It’s the responsibility of the middle-order batsmen to consolidate.

“I think we have done well in patches. We are lucky to have such a good bowling attack. And then some of the batsmen are in good form. Shikhar (Dhawan) and Kane (Williamson) are playing really well at the top. They really set the base for us. But as I said it’s high time we come to the party and try to win games for the team,” he elaborated.