Is Manish Pandey emerging as the new ‘finisher’ : In bygone days when the IPL circuit included Chennai Super Kings (CSK) as one of the franchisee, the team was led by the former Indian skipper, Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The CSK Playing XI boasted of two very significant names, Dhoni and the southpaw Suresh Raina, who put up extraordinary partnerships to win many a games in the tournament.
At one point, both these were considered to be the ‘best finishers’ of the game.
Post suspension of CSK for a couple of years from participating in the tournament, these two iconic players got separated and picked up by different franchisees.
The rhythm seems to have been lost and both these players have not been successful in making any impact or whatsoever.
However, silently the 27-year old, Manish Pandey, seems to be making waves.
Playing for Kolkata Knight Riders, Pandey has made his bat ‘talk’ every time he had walked into the middle.
Appearing in five games in the ingoing edition, Pandey has scored 221 runs and is at the third position of leading run-getters.
Remaining unbeaten on three of the four occasions he got to wield the bat, Pandey averages a whooping 221.0 with an unbeaten 81* as his personal best.
In the game against Kings’ XI Punjab, the middle order batsman gave company to his skipper, Gautam Gambhir and both of them stayed on till the end to reach the target of 171 runs in 16.3 overs, losing just a couple of wickets. The duo put up an unbroken partnership of 55* runs in just 6.3 over, scored at a rate of 8.46 an over.
Pandey was also involved in finishing the game against Delhi Daredevils (DD), in which he partnered Yusuf Pathan and registered a fourth-wicket partnership of 110 runs in 12 overs, scored at 9.16 run rate.
The game against DD was a tough one, given the fact that KKR lost three quick wickets (Gambhir, Grandhomme and Uthapa) in just 2.5 overs with only 21 runs on the board, chasing 169 runs.
Thereafter it was upto Pandey and Pathan to shoulder the mantle and bring some sanity to the scoreboard.
While Pathan went on the rampage, Manish kept his cool and scored in ones and twos, realising that his staying at the wicket was very important for the team.
Pandey played a patient knock, so much so that 10 of his 69* runs came in 2s while 25 of them came in singles.
Playing a very responsible innings, he guided his team to a win, scoring the victory shot in the penultimate delivery of the match.
Looking at the approach this youngster has adopted and the way he ‘goes about his business’, Pandey could be developing into a good ‘finisher’ of the game, more so, in the shortest format.
This is ‘good news’ for Team India.