Watch: Karthik's special gesture for Hardik Pandya after match-winning six vs Pakistan sums up entire India's emotions
Pandya, who stood calm to take his team past the finish line, put on a key fifth-wicket stand of 52 with Ravindra Jadeja.
Hardik Pandya's all-round brilliance powered India to a thrilling five-wicket win over arch-rivals Pakistan in an Asia Cup game on Sunday. Pandya first shone with the ball to return figures of 3/25 in 4 overs, as India restricted Pakistan to 147 in 19.5 overs. He then scored 33 off 17 balls and hit the winning six in the last over bowled by left-arm spinner Mohammed Nawaz. Pandya, who stood calm to take his team past the finish line, put on a key fifth-wicket stand of 52 with Ravindra Jadeja. India achieved the target with two balls to spare in Dubai. Watch: Manjrekar asks Jadeja 'You're ok to talk to me, right?' after India beat Pakistan, all-rounder's reply is gold
After Pandya hit a nonchalant six over long-on to seal India's win, Dinesh Karthik exchanged a fist-bump with his batting partner. He even bowed to the all-rounder, who responded with a cheeky smile. The celebrations preceded Pandya's three fours off Haris Rauf off the 19th over, which effectively sealed the game for India.
Ravindra Jadeja contributed with 35 off 29 balls, while former skipper Virat Kohli scored 35 off 34 balls. Naseem Shah was Pakistan's best bowler with figures of 2/27. For India, Bhuvneshwar Kumar had the best figures of 4 for 26, while Pandya recorded a three-fer.
Pandya said he would have "fancied" his chances even if India needed 15 runs in the last over. "In a chase like this, you always plan over-by-over. I always knew that there is one young bowler (Naseem or Shahnawaz Dahani) and also one left-arm spinner (Nawaz)," he said in the post-match presentation.
"We only needed 7 off the last over but even if we needed 15, I'd have fancied myself. I know the bowler is under more pressure than me in the 20th over. I try to keep things simple," explained the all-rounder.
India captain Rohit Sharma was all praise for Hardik, who made a stellar return through the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL) after a length injury layoff. "Halfway through the chase, we still knew that we can win irrespective of the situation. We had the belief and when you have that belief, these things can happen," Rohit said.
“Since the time he (Hardik) has made his comeback, he's been brilliant. When he was not part of the team, he figured what he needs to do to his body and his fitness regime, and now he is clocking 140 easily.”
“His batting quality we all know and it's been brilliant since his comeback. He is a lot calmer now and more confident about what he wants to do, whether it's with the bat or with the ball,” added the skipper.