The Indian all-rounder, Hardik Pandya pulled off an all-round performance with both bat and the ball on Sunday during India’s Asia Cup 2022 opener against Pakistan. The men in blue could’ve been on the wrong side of things if he had not performed well while chasing a rather modest total. The match-winning six, preceded by three crucial boundaries during the penultimate Over of the match, paved the way for India’s five-wicket victory against their arch-rivals in Dubai.
Earlier, a three-fer, with bowling figures of 4-0-25-3, Hardik Pandya was instrumental in restricting Pakistan to a fairly gettable target. His rise and shine since the commencement of his days as the Gujarat Titans skipper this year, has been a one to remember for him and the cricketing fraternity so far, which also saw him captaining the Indian team during their 2-0 victory in the away T20I series against Ireland in June.
Hardik Pandya not only took the huge call of captaining the brand-new Gujarat franchise despite a long return back from injury but also nailed the same by lifting the title in their debut season itself. Moreover, he batted at an average of 44.27 with 487 runs across 15 innings, he also emerged to be the highest run-scorer for GT in the season.
Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, who was part of the IPL champion side as well, and also their second-highest wicket-taker (19 wickets), spoke at length regarding the hard work put in by his IPL team skipper, which has now made him a mentally strong character, delivering match-winning performances for the Indian team.
Explaining the same during a press conference ahead of Afghanistan’s clash against Bangladesh, Rashid Khan said, “Hardik Pandya likes to take responsibility. Captaining Gujarat has changed his mind set a lot, he knows his strength, takes the game deep, bats through the innings, and is mentally strong in any situation. India missed him a lot in the previous matches. The hard work he put on during the IPL helped him.”