Have India found a new finisher in Hardik Pandya?
When Yuvraj Singh was out for a match-winning 53(32) in the second ball of the 47th over, it was MS Dhoni slotted to come in next, instead, Hardik Pandya came in.
Surprise. All of us stunned? Not really because these days Dhoni takes some time to get his eyes in and then go for his shots. So, with only 9-balls to go, either Kedhar Jadhav or Pandya would have expected to join Virat Kohli.
It was Pandya’s turn this time.
He took a single of the first ball.
48th over of India innings
Imad Wasim came to bowl the final over.
The 23-year-old Pandya was on strike.
India were at 296-3.
Can Pandya guide India to 308-310? or will he give the strike to Kohli who started to middle everything?
He hit the first ball for six over long-off.
Here came the next ball, another maximum to long off region.
Third ball, same result, Pandya walked across and deposited the ball over midwicket.
Crowd erupted. Unbelievable hitting.
The ploy to bat him ahead of Dhoni paid rich dividends and his 20*(6) helped India to reach 319-3.
Mumbai Indians vs Rising Pune Super Giant, first league match
Mumbai was batting first and were struggling at 142/7, even 155-160 seemed impossible.
Ashok Dinda was bowling the 20th over. Pandya was on strike.
The allrounder hit Ashok Dinda for 30 runs including 4 sixes and a four.
Mumbai reached 172. Magical hitting.
The Mumbai dugout, the crowd, all were clapping.
Even the great Sachin Tendulkar was overjoyed.
Has a new finisher arrived?
It’s too early to say whether he can be the next finisher for India but he surely has the power and talent to earn the ‘finisher’ tag. Team management should give him the freedom to go for the shots from ball one and they should not think from the law of averages perspective.
If a player plans to hit every ball for boundaries, the chances of getting out cheaply are high. So, they have to ensure the young man that “You go for your shots, we will take care of the rest.”