"Have learnt a lot from MS bhai, how to finish games"- Hardik Pandya after his match-winning six vs PAK
After all the hype before the start of the match, it was India that clinched a tight win in their favour on Sunday against Pakistan at Dubai International Stadium. And the star of the match was none other than star Indian all-rounder, Hardik Pandya, who helped India to win their opening match of the tournament.
After dismissing Pakistan for an average total of 147 runs, it looked like India might cruise over the line, but the Pakistani bowlers kept their team in the game. However, in the end, Ravindra Jadeja and Pandya took the game deep and pulled off an excellent chase.
Hardik ended the chase with a six over long on when India needed six off three balls. He remained unbeaten on 33* balls for 17 runs, with four fours and one six. With the ball as well, he took an important wicket of Mohammad Rizwan, who was looking very good at 43.
Apart from Rizwan, he also dismissed Iftikhar Ahmed (28) and Khusdil Shah (2) to end Pakistan's hope of a big first innings total. He ended up with a figure of 3/25 in his four overs, As a result, he was named the "Man of the Match" for his all-round skill.
Hardik was very cool and composed in the final overs of the chase. He, along with Jadeja (35), added 52 runs for the fifth wicket to pull the game in India's favour. The partnership was broken by the first ball of the 20th over, when India needed seven off six balls.
Dinesh Karthik took a single off the second ball, which brought the 28-year-old to the crease. Despite playing the third ball for a single, Hardik was very calm and confident in his ability. That's what he showed in the fourth ball as he hit Mohammad Nawaz for a six to long-on to finish the match in MS Dhoni's style.
The match-winning six reminded everyone of the former Indian skipper, who used to end the match with a big hit. However, after the match, in a discussion on Star Sports, Hardik revealed that it is all because of MSD and he has learnt the art of finishing the game from him.
Hardik said, "I have learnt a lot from my MS Dhoni bhai as a finisher and how to finish the games. I just try to keep my calm and try to assess the situation. I knew they had Nawaz waiting to bowl, and while we needed 7, even if we needed 15 I would have fancied by chances."