Heaping praise on India and Mumbai Indians all-rounder Hardik Pandya, Jean-Paul Duminy on Tuesday termed the Baroda all-rounder as “pressure-moment” player during the business end of the Indian Premier League (IPL) season.
Pandya, last Sunday, starred with bat and ball to help Mumbai record their second win on the bounce against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), a team they take on once again at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday.
“Those are type of players that we need specially at this time of the tournament where you kind of refer to them as pressure players or pressure moments (player) and you like those pressure moment players to step up and execute their skills to the best of their ability,” South African Duminy told reporters on the eve of the game.
“He has been exceptional to watch. I have played against him a few times and now I have the opportunity to play with him. He is an exceptional talent and one of those characters that backs himself in pressure moments,” the 34-year old added.
Pandya smacked an unbeaten 20-ball 35 in the previous game when the Mumbai middle- order flopped once again after Suryakumar Yadav and Evin Lewis gave the Rohit Sharma-led side a blistering start.
Pandya combined some innovative shots — including a scoop over his shoulder and a one-handed six over long-off — with a couple of fortunate edged boundaries in the last over — bowled by the debutant Krishna rather than Russell or Mitchell Johnson — to give Mumbai what proved a vital run cushion in the end.
Pandya was brilliant in the 18th over as well, using short pitched deliveries to good effect and applying the choke on KKR when they needed 43 runs required from 18 balls. Pandya returned impressive figures of 2/19 in four overs.
“I think the way he has executed is exceptional but the way he has stayed calm under pressure and had same sort of demeanour throughout success or failure has been great to see and admirable in my point of view for most of India to be honest,” Duminy said.
Pandya has so far taken 14 wickets in nine matches, the joint highest wicket-taker along with Umesh Yadav (14 scalps in 10 matches).