Asia Cup 2018 Hardik Pandya got dropped from the side after he got injured for the longest time. Cut to Asia Cup 2022, India’s first match of the tournament, which was against arch-rivals Pakistan Hardik Pandya was named the Man of the Match award for his terrific all-around show.
Hardik Pandya made everyone nostalgic as he channeled the MS Dhoni inside him and gave a perfect finish to the thrilling encounter between the two arch-rivals. Hardik’s attitude, the way he took the game deep and those last shots had MS Dhoni’s strategy written all over it.
He played a match-winning knock of 33 runs off 17 balls, which was laced with four boundaries and the match-winning sixer.
Later, after the game, Hardik revealed how he has seen MS Dhoni pull off such things many times and he only tried to emulate his mentor. Hardik also explained how he accelerated his innings after the 15th over, saying that he knew that Pakistan had one left-arm spinner waiting along with Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf. He also said that he was aware of the over-rate factor as well. He said:
“Jitna me simple rakh saku me koshis karta hu. Obviously Mahi bhai also, jab bhi unke saath khela hu dekha he maine, zyada maine sawal kiya nehi but nehi bhi dekha toh bhi main manta hu ki as a cricketer, sirf unse nehi, jo jo players ke saath maine khela he jo jo cheez me le sakta hu maine liya. I feel that agar koi decision life me bhi lena ho if you are calm and are able to asses the situation better then behetar decision le sakte ho.”
He added: “Batting me bhi me same cheez use karne ki koshis karta hu ki mere paas kya kya options he Yeh game actually mere liye 15th over se start huya tha. I knew that the death bowler is making his debut today, I knew ki execution me thoda upar niche hoga. So agar yaha pe bhi dot balls huye toh propblem nehi kyunki ek left-arm spinner he and unlogo ka over-rate me bhi kam tha. So yeh sab cheez factor karke socha ki akhri tak rahe and behetar option liye,”
Earlier, Hardik Pandya alongwith Bhuvneshwar Kumar rattled the batting unit of the Pakistan cricket team. Hardik picked three crucial wickets that helped India win the Pakistan tie by 5 wickets in Dubai.