'First stole Samson's spot then...': Hardik savaged over 'pathetic, selfish' act to deny Tilak Varma a fifty in 3rd T20I
Fans were left fuming at Hardik for his "pathetic and shameless" act to deny Tilak a well-deserved second consecutive fifty in the series.
India have finally managed to pull one back in the five-match T20I series after going 0-2 down early in the opening two games. On Tuesday, at the same venue when they suffered their second straight loss, India managed to script an emphatic seven-wicket win where Suryakumar Yadav roared back to form in style to give a glimpse of his devasting best in the format. His stellar knock of 83 runs off 44 balls helped India chase down the target of 160 with 13 balls spare. But he wasn't the sole reason behind the win. Young Tilak Varma, who has been the only positive from India's T20I series against West Indies, continued his sublime form to score an unbeaten 49. However, fans were left fuming at the end of the massive win as they targeted captain Hardik Pandya for his "pathetic and shameless" act to deny the youngster a well-deserved second consecutive fifty in the series.
Finding his way into the India squad on the back of two stellar seasons for Mumbai Indians in IPL, Tilak was handed his international debut in the first match of the T20I series where he scored an impressive 25-ball 39, the best score by an Indian batter in the match in an otherwise horror batting show from the team. He then furthered his performance with a maiden T20I fifty in the second game on the sluggish Guyana pitch.
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On Tuesday, he ably supported Suryakumar in a match-reviving 87-run stand for the third wicket before teeing off with four boundaries and a six to score an unbeaten 49 off 37. In fact he looked certain to score a second consecutive fifty in the series, before slowing down towards the end of India's chase.
When Tilak had reached 49* in the fourth ball of the 18th over with a single and India requiring two runs to win the match, it was expected of Hardik to either play out the over to hand the Mumbai Indians star the strike with a single. Back in 2014 World T20, MS Dhoni had done a similar with Virat Kohli, when the then India skipper played out a delivery to end the over and allow the latter to gain strike and score the winning run against South Africa, having single-handedly carved out the magnificent chase for India. However, instead of going for a single, Hardik smacked the slower delivery from his Windies skipper Rovman Powell for a six over long-off. While the shot completed India's chase, it left Tilak unbeaten on 49 as fans fumed on social media at the Indian captain. What rather shocked them was that a few deliveries earlier, when Tilak was on 44*, stump mic had caught Hardik advising the youngster to stay till the end and finish off the match.
Here are some of the reactions…
Suryakumar's big praise for Tilak
One of the reason behind Suryakumar and Tilak managing to stitch that great partnership was down to the understanding they share given their similar roles for Mumbai Indians in IPL, a glimpse of which was also seen during the opening T20I game. The senior batter later credited that bond for that match-winning 87-run partnership.
"We (himself and Tilak) have batted together for a long time, we both understand how each other bats and the way he batted, it gave me a lot of confidence. It was a great innings from him (Tilak) at the other end," he said after collecting his Player of the Match award.
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