New Delhi : Manish Pandey on Thursday returned to the number three position in the SunRisers Hyderabad’s batting line-up against Rajasthan Royals after being tried at number five in the previous IPL 2020 match without success.
He hammered a 47-ball unbeaten 83 against the Steve Smith-led side to take his team to an eight-wicket win and keep alive their chances of entering the play-offs in the ongoing tournament.
The India batsman has scored all his half-centuries in IPL 2020 batting at the No. 3 position. In fact, all his double figure knocks this season have come batting at his preferred slot.
But to accommodate Kane Williamson at the top and in a bid to strengthen the middle-order as SRH had been losing previous games, Pandey was pushed down to No. 5. But he failed, scoring six in his appearance against Kolkata Knight Riders.
“There were enough talks around our middle order. It is high time for us to perform. I just wanted to stay on the wicket and play my shots. I am really happy that it came off today. I was hitting it well,” said Pandey who was the first Indian batsman to score a century in Indian Premier League back in 2009.
That remains his only century in the lucrative league, although he has 18 half-centuries in the league, including three this year. The stroke-playing batsman averages 29.6 and experts say that his performance over the years has been a bit below par and inconsistent.
Pandey has, in the past, expressed disappointment over tinkering with his batting position even in the Indian team. Back in 2018, while with the India team, he had said he would like to bat up the order.
“Sometimes I feel that because I bat at No. 5,” Pandey had said over two years ago on being asked why he doesn’t score big. “But most of the times I got chances at No. 4, I delivered.”
Thankfully, SRH did not tinker with his batting position for long and he now seems to perform at his favourite spot.