Hardik Pandya would have “fancied” his chances even if India needed 15 runs rather than the seven that they scored in the final over to win their Asia Cup opener against Pakistan. Pandya had a dream game, first taking 3 for 25 in 4 overs and then finishing the match with a six off Mohammed Nawaz, having scored 33 invaluable runs off 17 balls.
“In a chase like this, you always plan over-by-over. I always knew that there is one young bowler (Naseem or Shahnawaz Dahani) and also one left-arm spinner (Nawaz),” Pandya said after the match.
“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,” said India’s No. 1 all-rounder.
As far as bowling is concerned, Hardik knew that he needed to mix the short balls and induce batters into making mistakes.
“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,” he said.
He’s been brilliant since comeback, says Rohit
India captain Rohit Sharma always knew that the match was under control and was all praise for Hardik.
“Halfway through the chase, we still knew that we can win irrespective of the situation. We had the belief and when you have that belief, these things can happen,” Rohit said.
For Rohit, Hardik is a man, who now knows what he needs to do in specific situations.
“Since the time he (Hardik) has made his comeback, he’s been brilliant. When he was not part of the team, he figured what he needs to do to his body and his fitness regime, and now he is clocking 140 easily.
“His batting quality we all know and it’s been brilliant since his comeback. He is a lot calmer now and more confident about what he wants to do, whether it’s with the bat or with the ball.” That Hardik can bowl quick was on display on the day.
“He can bowl really quickly, we saw that today with those short balls. It was always about just understanding his game and he’s doing that well now. In a high-pressure with 10 runs per over needed, you can panic but he never showed any of that,” the skipper said.
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