Hardik Pandya
File photo of Mumbai Indians all-rounder Hardik Pandya.IANS
  • Hardik Pandya is leading the IPL 2018 bowling charts with 14 wickets from nine matches.
  • He came up with an all-round effort to help Mumbai beat Kolkata on Sunday.

Mumbai Indians' star all-rounder Krunal Pandya heaped praise on his younger brother Hardik for his bowling performances in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) season.

He also pointed out that Hardik's bowling has improved over the years and that the 24-year-old has evolved into a thinking bowler.

Krunal's comments came after Hardik's all-round show that helped Mumbai Indians beat Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by 13 runs at home Sunday, May 6. The India all-rounder hit a 20-ball 35 at the death, helping the hosts reach 181 and followed it up with a match-winning bowling spell.

Hardik finished with figures of 19 for 2 in his four-over quota after picking up the crucial wickets of in-form Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana.

The Baroda all-rounder now has the Purple Cap with 14 wickets from nine matches. MI's leg-spinner Mayank Markande holds the second spot on the wicket-takers list with 13 wickets.

"Really, really happy for him. He has been bowling well. He has transformed himself as a bowler. He has improved over the period of time, which is a good sign because as a cricketer, everyone wants to improve," Krunal told IPL's official website after their win over KKR.

"He is using his brain. I am really happy he got the purple cap. He is batting well, bowling well and everyone knows he is a gun fielder," he added.

Mumbai Indians are known for their fighting spirit: Krunal Pandya

Krunal himself has been coming up with handy contributions in the last few matches. On Sunday, the left-arm spinner bowled the last over and conceded only nine runs when KKR had need 19 off it to win.

Meanwhile, the 27-year-old all-rounder insisted that Mumbai are known for their fighting spirit and that they are hopeful of making the playoffs despite the odds being stacked against them.

MI cannot afford to lose even one of their next four matches if they are to stand a chance of retaining the title.

After losing five of their first six games, Rohit Sharma's men have won three of their last four to keep their chances alive. The Mumbai-based franchise is now on the fifth spot with eight points from 10 matches.

"Finally, we have started a winning momentum. It's good to contribute in all departments," Krunal said.

"Mumbai are known for their fighting spirit and we want to continue fighting. Though we have only ourselves to blame, we have the ability and the talent. We will take one game at a time. We are not thinking too far."