Hardik Pandya is not shy of expressing himself, on or off the pitch. After his recent debacle beyond the boundary rope, he is back making the kind of headlines, he would have dreamed of when he started playing the game.
Batting at number 8 in the fifth ODI against New Zealand in Wellington, Hardik Pandya delighted the viewers as he hit leg spinner Todd Astle for three consecutive sixes in one over. In the next over he hit Trent Boult for a six. In the next over, he took James Neesham to the cleaners hitting him for 14 runs before falling to a very high full toss which could have been called a no-ball.
Sunil Gavaskar was overjoyed by Pandya's efforts calling it magnificent hitting and a delightful innings which will give the bowlers confidence. He added that Pandya's innings may be the difference between victory and defeat for India.
Earlier in the day, Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to bat first. But India did not make a good start to their innings as they lost four early wickets. The skipper was bowled by Matt Henry courtesy a delightful delivery. His opening partner Shikhar Dhawan soon followed upper cutting a short and wide Trent Boult delivery to third man.
Debutant Shubman Gill looked bright but once again fell playing a punch shot to a ball that stopped on him. MS Dhoni returned to the team but lasted only six deliveries before being castled.
Vijay Shankar then joined Ambati Rayudu to stitch together a 98-run partnership before a confusion led to Shankar's fall. By then, he had made 45 runs and resurrected the Indian innings. Following that Rayudu and Jadhav added some quick runs before both perished setting the stage for Pandya to take over.
Rayudu made a well compiled 90 but it was Pandya's late blast that propelled India's total to beyond 250. Twitter was naturally stoked by the all-rounder's innings and came up with hilarious responses.
This ridiculous ability to hit sixes out of nowhere is what makes Hardik Pandya such an invaluable asset for the team. In matches where a shaky start is followed by rebuilding, this kind of knock is just the final thrust needed #NZvsIND #NZvIND #TeamIndia— Arun Venugopal (@scarletrun) February 3, 2019
Harsha Bhogle spoke about the dubious umpiring calls -- officials did not signal a wide despite and Pandya had a word with him. But when Boult pointed out a short run, the umpires heeded to him.
If you want to review a short run based on a fielder's demand after the replay has been shown, surely you can review a wide ball if a batsman claims it after the replay!!— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) February 3, 2019