India skipper Hardik Pandya was criticised on social media after he denied batter Tilak Varma an opportunity to score his second consecutive fifty in Twenty20 Internationals against West Indies at the Providence Stadium in Guyana.
Although India won the third fixture of the five-match series comfortably by seven wickets, some fans were taken aback when, with two runs required off 14 balls, Hardik decided to finish things off by tonking pacer Rovman Powell for a maximum over long-off.
Tilak remained 49 not out off 37 deliveries.
Comparisons were immediately drawn with Virat Kohli, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and Sanju Samson, who on separate occasions, had allowed their batting partners to reach their respective milestones.
During the World T20 (now T20 World Cup) semifinal against South Africa in 2014, Dhoni came in to bat in the 19th over. He was on strike when India needed one off seven balls.
The then-India skipper, however, let his deputy, who had scored the bulk of the runs that day, have his moment by hitting the winning runs. Dhoni played a defensive block off the last delivery of the 19th over to pass the strike on to Kohli, who eventually finished on an unbeaten 72 off 44 balls, hitting the final ball for a boundary.
On May 11, during an Indian Premier League (IPL) match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals (RR), leggie Suyash Sharma tried to bowl an intentional “five wides” to Samson to deny Yashasvi Jaiswal, batting on 94 at the non-striker’s end, the chance to score a hundred. RR was only three away from victory.
The RR skipper, however, saw through the trick and shuffled across to block the delivery. Although Royals won, Jaiswal could only get to an unbeaten 98 with a four off Shardul Thakur.
In 2011, Kohli had a hand in helping Chris Gayle reach his maiden IPL hundred. With a single required to win against KKR off 13 deliveries, Kohli blocked and passed on the strike to Gayle. The Jamaican, having finished things off in style, enveloped Kohli in a hug.
On Tuesday, thanks to a blistering knock from Suryakumar Yadav (83 off 44 balls) and Kuldeep Yadav’s three wickets that restricted the Windies to 159 for five in the first innings., India kept the five-match series alive at 2-1.
The teams will now travel to Florida to play the final two games of the series on Saturday and Sunday.
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