Little was known about Krunal Pandya before the IPL 2016 Player Auction. From a base price of Rs 10 lakh, Mumbai Indians left no stone unturned, add him to their ranks after agreeing to pay a whopping Rs 2 crore for the Baroda player.
Surprisingly, Hardik Pandya -- Krunal's younger brother -- was bought for his base price of just Rs 10 lakh. Hardik burst onto the international scene in January, during India's tour of Australia, before becoming a fixture inthe India team for the Asia Cup T20 2016 and the ICC World T20 2016. But, after a string of poor performances in the first few matches of IPL 2016, Hardik's star has faded a little, with his older brother taking the spotlight.
The 25-year old Krunal has been consistent and has already proved his mettle, doing justice to the amount that the Mumbai Indians management paid for him.
Krunal has not only become a known figure for his regular cameos with the bat, but for his bowling skills as well. Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma can throw the ball to him as and when needed and Krunal does have the knack of picking up wickets in the middle overs.
Krunal went on to record his maiden IPL half-century in just 22 balls, which against the Delhi Daredevils on Sunday, with that feat helping Krunal sneak into the top five fastest fifty list of IPL 2016.
The Mumbai Indians' latest sensation went on to smash 86 runs from just 37 balls against DD in a crucial encounter in Visakhapatnam. It was a must-win game for the Mumbai Indians. Rohit took a risk by sending Krunal up the order at No.3, and he did not let his captain down.
Krunal was relentless as he decorated his innings with six sixes and seven fours, with a strike rate of 232.43. In the second innings, he was involved in causing a run out and picked up two wickets as well. As a result he was adjudged the man of the match for his all-round effort against the Daredevils.
In his maiden IPL season, the talented all-rounder from Gujarat has scored 233 runs in 11 matches at an average of 46.60. His strike rate (192.56) is pretty impressive as well. He has also added numbers to the wickets column. Krunal has picked up six wickets with an economy rate of 7.13, which is terrific in this format of the game.
If Mumbai Indians are to make it to IPL 2016 playoffs, they will need more from Krunal.