Former India player turned veteran commentator Aakash Chopra has applauded Hardik Pandya for reserving his best knock for the crunch games against Pakistan. However, Pandya scored 87 runs off 90 deliveries in India’s Asia Cup 2023 Group A clash against Pakistan in Pallekele on Saturday, September 2. His knock helped India set a 267-run target for Pakistan, but the match eventually washed out as rain played spoilsports.
While reviewing the game in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra said: “Hardik Pandya’s story is very good. I feel he should be given more credit for what he does. He saves his best for the big match, that’s something that we should all admire and acknowledge. You can troll him as much as you want, but whenever he plays against Pakistan, whether it was the 2017 Champions Trophy, the 2022 T20 World Cup, the last Asia Cup, or this match, whenever there is pressure and the Indian team is struggling, he is the guy. He comes and scores runs.”
However, Hardik Pandya smashed 76 runs off 46 balls in the 2017 Champions Trophy final also, although for a losing cause. He scored a match-defining knock in India’s group-stage wins against Pakistan in last year’s Asia Cup and T20 World Cup as well.
“Here also, they were stuck at one stage. You were 66/4. If another wicket had fallen, because when he and Ishan Kishan eventually got out, the team fell like a cycle stand. You couldn’t play the entire 50 overs. So if they had been dismissed earlier, you would have been dismissed by the 35th over or probably the 28th over. So that would have been a problem but Hardik Pandya was brilliant,” he concluded.