India managed to beat the Australians in the 3rd ODI by a comfortable margin and one of the main reasons that they were able to chase down 293 in 47.1 overs was Hardik Pandya. The all-rounder once again stepped up when called upon and delivered after being presented the platform by Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane.
The two Mumbai openers managed to give India a rousing start before Rohit perished but just when it looked like the Aussies had managed to claw their way back, Pandya went on the offensive and smashed a brilliant 79 to take India to the doorstep of victory before getting out.
Though he had not managed to finish the game, he had ensured that Pandey and Dhoni had to do the bare minimum required to win the series.
Number four masterstroke:
Pandya generally plays for India at 5 or 6 but he came up the order in place of Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni.
The move obviously paid off and the reason behind this was because the management felt that Pandya could hit spinner Ashton Agar who has the ability to slow things in the middle.
However, it was revealed that the decision to promote Pandya up the order was taken by the head coach, Ravi Shastri. His decision certainly proved to be the point where India could go into cruise control despite chasing a big score.
India’s win means that they have equalled their record of consecutive ODI wins and will look to extend that at Bangalore on Thursday.
Ravi Shastri is a very intelligent cricketer and knows how to attack the opposition with mind games and surprising moves. Shastri has always believed in playing an aggressive brand of cricket and his decision to send Pandya at number 4, ahead of MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav and Manish Pandey, was a very attacking move.
And now, this move has given a new advantage to India that they can use Hardik Pandya as a floater in the batting order in ODI cricket. This is what Virat Kohli said about Hardik’s batting and Shastri’s decision to promote him in the batting order.
“I’m really, really satisfied with the win. He (Pandya) is a star, has the ability with the ball, bat and the field. We need a guy like that, we’ve been missing an explosive all- rounder. He is a great asset for Indian cricket,” Kohli said after the match.
“The idea behind his promotion was Ravi (Shastri) bhai, to attack the spinner,” he added.