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Mumbai Indians skipper Hardik Pandya blamed his teammate Tilak Varma for the 10-run loss against Delhi Capitals in the 43rd fixture of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 season. Though Hardik didn't namedrop Tilak, he raised question marks on his game awareness for the agonising defeat.

Notably, Hardik felt that Tilak should have taken Axar Patel on as soon as he came into the attack as a slow left-arm orthodox bowler bowling to a southpaw is a favourable match-up for the batter.

Axar was brought into the attack in the eighth over of Mumbai's run chase when Hardik and Tilak were in the middle. Tilak collected two singles off the two balls that he faced in the over.

Axar then came to bowl the 10th over and once again Tilak milked the first two balls that he faced in the over for singles. The 21-year-old left-handed batter smoked the penultimate and the



final ball of the over for a six and a four.

While Hardik and Tilak expected Axar to be brought back into the attack, the Delhi Capitals skipper Rishabh Pant, didn't turn to him again.

"Axar bowling to a left-hander (Tilak Varma), the better option could have been to go after him," the Mumbai captain said on the official broadcast after the match. "I think it was just a little game awareness that we missed out. At the end of the day, that cost us the game."

"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 chances of chasing the target down. "But if I have to pinpoint, a couple of overs in the middle, we could've taken some extra chances."

Mumbai are ninth on the points table with just three wins after nine matches.
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