People counted David Miller out but for us he was always a match-winner, says Gujarat Titans captain Hardik Pandya

Written by Mohan Sharma

Hardik Pandya has said that while others may have not thought much of David Miller, Gujarat Titans always had faith in his match-winning abilities. Miller, who has said he is having his finest Indian Premier League season yet, put Gujarat Titans into the Ahmedabad final with three successive sixes in the last over against Rajasthan Royals’ Prasidh Krishna in the first Qualifier at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Miller finished on 68 off 38 balls and put on an unbroken 106-run fourth-wicket stand with his skipper Pandya, who said that Miller had shown what he could do if he was given importance and role clarity within a team set-up.

“I am genuinely proud of the way he has lifted his game, he is genuinely a damn good guy,” Pandya said of Miller. “I was proud to play with him and enjoy… simply he is such a wonderful guy I have always wanted good things to happen to him. It shows that if you show love and importance to an individual player, he can flourish and how.

“People counted David Miller out, but for us, he was always the match-winner from the time we bought him in the auction,” Pandya said. “We always expected him to do what he did (in Kolkata) but it was important to give him the importance, love and clarity as to what we expect from him and if we fail it is okay, it is just a game.”

Speaking to Shubman Gill after the win, Miller said that Pandya had helped calm his nerves when he went in at 85 for 3 in the tenth over in pursuit of 189. “I was a bit nervous to be honest with you but Hardik said lets just keep playing good cricket shots, keep hitting the gap,” Miller told Gill. “As you saw he was not running too fast, and for me, I enjoy running between the wickets pretty hard. But it ended up working out pretty well. It was a quick outfield so hitting the gap was probably the best call, and just hitting good cricket shots.”

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Mohan Sharma