Hardik Pandya has been receiving praises from all corners for his terrific all-round show against arch-rivals Pakistan in India’s opening game of the ongoing T20 World Cup 2022. Pandya played an instrumental role in India’s epic win against India as he took 3/30 to help the Indian side restrict Pakistan to 159/8 in 20 overs. Later, he formed a brilliant partnership with Virat Kohli to bring back the much-needed momentum to the side after India suffered a batting collapse.
When Pandya and Kohli came together, India was staring down the barrel at 31/4. Team India needed a required rate of 11 an over and with India needing 115 off the final 10, it was in fact Pandya, who opened the floodgates. He smashed a stunning boundary and then smacked two sixes off Mohammad Nawaz to break the shackles. Pandya and Kohli slowly rebuilt the innings, with a 50-run partnership, later converting into a 100-run stand off 75 balls.
He scored 40 off 37 balls and added a 113 run-stand in just 78 balls with Virat Kohli (82*). Hardik Pandya also created history by becoming the first Indian player to cross 1000 T20I runs and pick 50 wickets.
Impressed with his performance, former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson hailed Hardik Pandya for his terrific performance. Watson reckoned that Pandya has all the ingredients to win the T20 World Cup on his own. Speaking in an interview with the Times of India, Watson said:
“Hardik Pandya is a talented cricketer. When he’s bowling, the way he is paced up at 140s is amazing.”
“He’s just got great skill and he’s got a great ability to take wickets and also defend runs. His batting just continues to go through the roof. He’s not just a finisher, he’s a power hitter too. He’s got all the skills. We’ve seen him in the last IPL. He can win the T20 World Cup on his own. He is truly a match-winner,” Watson added.
Meanwhile, in the post-match presentation, Hardik Pandya couldn’t hold his emotions and recalled how his late father moved cities to fulfill his cricketing dreams. He said:
“I was only thinking about my dad. I have not cried about my dad. I love my son, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to do for him what my dad did for me. He moved cities for a six-and-a-half-year old boy’s dreams without knowing I’d get to where I am today. So, this is for him,”
He added: “I will be grateful forever. If he hadn’t given me a chance, I won’t be standing here. He made a big sacrifice, he shifted to a different city for his kids. We were six at that time, and he shifted an entire city and his entire business. It was a big thing.”