Hardik Pandya came full circle in the Asia Cup 2022 match against Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
He finished off the match in style with a six over long-on with India needing six runs to win off three deliveries and was unbeaten on 33 off 17 balls as the Men in Blue sealed a thrilling five-wicket win. In the 19th over, Hardik struck three crucial boundaries off Haris Rauf to bring the equation down to seven runs to win off six balls.
Earlier in the day, Hardik starred with the ball, picking three for 25 in his four overs to restrict Pakistan to 147. He championed the short-ball ploy by picking all three wickets with short deliveries. Hardik removed Mohammed Rizwan, who tried to ramp a short ball, but ended up hitting it straight to deep third man. In the same over, Khushdil Shah attempted the upper-cut, only to be caught at deep point. Earlier, Hardik had Iftikhar Ahmed caught behind with a well-directed bouncer. He finished with figures of three for 25.
Hardik briefly brought back memories of the third ODI against England at Old Trafford last month, when his perseverance with the short ball saw him skittle England with figures of four for 24 and handed India the series 2-1 with a five-wicket win.
The all-rounder’s return to full fitness has been pivotal to India’s recent success in T20Is in the wake of the side’s T20 World Cup 2021 group stage exit.
After leading Gujarat Titans to a title win in IPL 2022 with his all-round brilliance as player and acumen as captain, Hardik all but sealed the No.5 slot in the Indian line-up with three blistering knocks against South Africa in the home T20Is in June.
The 28-year-old followed it up by leading India to a 2-0 series win in Ireland before answering any lingering doubts about his all-round ability with a blockbuster performance in the first T20I against England – scoring 51 of 33 and picking four for 33 - become the first Indian to achieve this double.
Hardik is coming off a successful T20I series in West Indies, where he picked two wickets in four matches at six runs an over and scored a fiery 16-ball 28 in the final match of the series.
- Richarlison to seek psychological help on return to England
- India vs Sri Lanka Dream11 prediction, Asia Cup 2023 Super Four: Playing XI updates, fantasy team for IND vs SL match today
- Sunil Chhetri part of Indian football team’s revised Asian Games squad, 13 players omitted from original squad
- NBA panel approves new policy on resting stars: Reports
- Ferrando upset with AIFF underplaying Ashique injury