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IPL 2022: Hardik Pandya defends decision to bat first vs PBKS, says GT need to come out of ‘comfort zone’ – Firstcricket News, Firstpost

Hardik Pandya’s decision to make Gujarat Titans bat first against Punjab Kings backfired as the debutants lost the match by eight wickets on Tuesday, in IPL 2022.

Batting first, Titans struggled to 143 for eight and the target was chased down by PBKS in 16 overs.

Hardik Pandya, captain of Gujarat Titans, bats against Punjab Kings. Image: Sportzpics for IPL

Hardik defended his decision to bat first after the match and said that he wanted his team to get out of their comfort zone with the playoffs fast approaching. GT are at the top of IPL 2022 points table with eight wins from 10 matches and are set to reach the playoffs.

“We weren’t even close to a par score. 170 would have been ideal, but we kept losing wickets regularly and never came anywhere near it. I backed ourselves with the bat, batting first wasn’t a wrong call, we needed to come out of our comfort zone,” said Hardik.

“We have chased well in this tournament, if required (later in the tournament), we had to know how to set targets. This is part of a learning curve, but this is all about learning to come out of our own comfort zone.

“We were always talking about getting better even when we were winning, we would talk about things that didn’t go our way today and would look to come back better in the coming games.”

Punjab skipper Mayank Agarwal lauded his team after the much-needed win.

He decided to drop himself down the order to accommodate Jonny Bairstow at the top alongside Shikhar Dhawan.

Explaining the move, he said: “We are trying to get the best out of Jonny. He’s done well opening. I said, ‘It’s okay, I’ll bat at four, I’ll anchor the innings at four’. With Livi it was clear, Shikhar to bat through and Livi could go out and play the way he wants to play. It was nice the way he played, got the score quickly,” said Agarwal.

He also said his team must gain some consistency as the race for a play-off spot gets more intense.

“We would like to string a few (wins), no better time than getting a few wins back-to-back.”

With PTI inputs

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