A fit Hardik Pandya is perhaps the best all-rounder in the world. The 28-year-old has been putting up consistent performances with both bat and ball ever since he returned to the field in the IPL 2022.
And on Sunday, in Dubai, Pandya rocked Pakistan to produce a match-winning, memorable all-round show, which culminated with him smashing a six to win the game when 6 runs were needed off the last 3 balls in India’s chase of 148.
Dinesh Karthik bows down to ‘Kungfu’ Hardik Pandya
After Pandya’s explosive finish which took India over the line in a last-over thriller, it was non-striker Dinesh Karthik who first hugged him and then bowed his head down in respect to Hardik Pandya before clapping steadily and moving away from action for Pandya to hog all the limelight.
This sweet gesture from Karthik went viral.
Take a bow Pandya… Match winner pic.twitter.com/dp4Mb4zeON
— Abhisar Sharma (@abhisar_sharma) August 28, 2022
Pandya came into bat when India were 89/4 in the 15th over and started to rebuild with Jadeja but both had to do it quickly and took some chances early on.
India needed 19 runs off 10 balls with Pandya on 15 off 11 balls. Then came what seemed a decisive three blows to Haris Rauf – four over mid-on, and two fours through cow corner.
However, Pakistani spinner Mohammad Nawaz still managed to keep his side in the hunt, bringing the equation down to 6 runs needed off the last 3 balls. But, Pandya said enough is enough, and walloped a smash above long-on to bring the game home for India. Pandya remained not out at 33* off 17 balls, cracking four fours and a six.
Pandya took three wickets with the ball
Earlier in the day, he had starred with the ball for India with his three-wicket haul that restricted Pakistani to under 150.
Pandya returned with brilliant bowling figures of 3/25 in his 4 overs – he broke the back of Pakistan’s batting innings with his three-wicket haul, which comprised the dismissals of the well-set opener Mohammad Rizwan, the dangerous-looking and another well-set batter Iftikhar Ahmed, and left-hander batsman Khushdil Shah.
He took all these wickets with short and short-of-length deliveries – a style which is now become really talked about with Hardik Pandya.
After the game, while bagging the Player of the Match award, Hardik Pandya explained that his mantra while chasing is to just keep a calm head and assess the situation. Beaming in confidence, Pandya was even ready to chase down 15 runs in the last over.
“In bowling, it’s important to assess the situations and use your weapons. For me, bowling short and the hard lengths have been my strengths. It’s about using them well and asking the right questions to make the batters commit a mistake. In a chase like this, you always plan over-by-over. I always knew that there is one young bowler and also one left-arm spinner. We only needed 7 off the last over but even if we needed 15, I’d have fancied myself. I know the bowler is under more pressure than me in the 20th over. I try to keep things simple,” Hardik Pandya said.