Hardik: Tilak's lack of intent against spin up front 'cost us the game'

"I think it was just a little game awareness that we missed out," Hardik says

Tilak Varma had a big job to do, Delhi Capitals vs Mumbai Indians, IPL 2024, Delhi, April 27, 2024

Tilak Varma top-scored for Mumbai Indians, but scored just eight runs off the first eight balls he faced off Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav  •  AFP/Getty Images

Four balls. Four singles. It's this passage across two Axar Patel overs to Tilak Varma just before the halfway mark of Mumbai Indians' mammoth chase of 258 that might have cost them two crucial points against Delhi Capitals, in Hardik Pandya's opinion.
Axar, the left-arm spinner, came on to bowl in the eighth over with MI 72 for 3.
He bowled six of his twelve deliveries to Tilak, a left-hand batter and, therefore, with a favourable match-up with Axar. The first four balls Tilak faced, he got singles with shots that didn't signal any attacking intent. Tilak then hit six and four off the last two to take MI to 115 for 3 at the ten-over mark. With Tilak batting till the last over in MI's ten-run loss, Axar didn't come back to bowl.
"Axar bowling to a left-hander [Tilak], the better option could have been to go after him," Hardik said on the official broadcast after the game. "I think it was just a little game awareness that we missed out. At the end of the day, that cost us the game."
Axar conceded 24 in his two overs. Kuldeep Yadav, the left-arm wristspinner, went for 47 in his three overs. In his first two overs, he bowled four balls to Tilak and, again, there was no shot in anger as Tilak collected four singles. Tilak, however, took him on in his third, and last, over, the 15th of the innings, and sent him for two sixes and two fours.
"The way the games are going and how the bowlers are under pressure throughout the competition, we backed ourselves to do it, the self-belief [was there]," Hardik said of MI's hopes of pulling off the big chase. "But if I have to pinpoint, a couple overs in the middle, we could've taken some extra chances."

Hardik: Fraser-McGurk was 'quite amazing'

That MI had to chase such a steep target was primarily down to Jake Fraser-McGurk's electric 27-ball 84. McGurk's strike rate of 242 in his first ten balls is the highest among batters to have faced at least 50 deliveries in IPL 2024. In all, he hit 11 fours and six sixes. It was his third fifty of the season, which takes his overall runs tally to 247 in five innings at a strike rate of 237.50.
"It was quite amazing the way he batted," Hardik said. "He played very calculated shots. It was a smart innings. He uses the field very well; he was trying to chip the ball if it wasn't in his arc.
"He was fantastic, he showed the fearlessness of youth, coming in and enjoying the sport. Very exciting, though."