Aakash Chopra has picked Umran Malik as his Player of the Match for last night's (April 27) IPL 2022 encounter between the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and the Gujarat Titans (GT).
Malik registered figures of 5-25 to give SRH the upper hand in the encounter. However, Rahul Tewatia and Rashid Khan played enterprising cameos to help the Titans overhaul the 196-run target off the very last ball.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra was effusive in his praise for Malik, saying:
"Tareef karoon kya uski jisne tujhe banaya. Umran - tujhe meri bhi umar lag jaaye. What a guy he is, his pace blew everyone away. His performance was incredible, he picked up a five-wicket haul."
While acknowledging that the Player of the Match is generally chosen from the winning side, the cricketer-turned-commentator opted to go with Malik. Chopra elaborated:
"My Player of the Match - generally you give it to a player who wins you the match - here you could give it to Saha, Rashid or Rahul Tewatia. I am giving it to Umran Malik because this kid is not a kid, he is doing amazing things. You will know him by his name, you will know him by his deeds."
Malik was one of the three players Sunrisers Hyderabad had retained ahead of the IPL 2022 auction. The express pacer has grown in stature as the tournament has progressed and repaid the faith the franchise have shown in him.
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"The opposition guy is collapsing" - Aakash Chopra on Umran Malik hitting the stumps
Aakash Chopra highlighted that Malik is leaving the opposition batters on almost all fours while casting them. He explained:
"He is hitting the guys' stumps and hitting in such a way that the opposition guy is collapsing. First Shubman Gill, what was he doing, I felt he was trying to play a shot like Shreyas Iyer and the ball hit his stumps. Hardik Pandya comes and is hit on his shoulder by a bouncer, then another bouncer and he is caught in the deep. David Miller - it was his last over, he was trying to hit and again hit his stumps. Then Abhinav Manohar - that was a good ball."
The 44-year-old pointed out that there was no option but to pick Umran Malik as the Player of the Match. Chopra reasoned:
"Only one guy was getting them out - his name is Umran Malik. If you don't finish on the winning side even after taking five wickets, you feel bad for him. That is why I am choosing him as the Player of the Match and he was chosen as the official Man of the Match. Obviously, can someone perform better than this?"
Aakash Chopra concluded by stating that Malik will definitely play for Team India. However, he wants the selectors to tread cautiously and not be in a hurry.
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