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Hardik Pandya and the art of game-changing knocks in Australia series

Hardik Pandya has played two game-changing knocks in the current series against Australia and it is because of his exploits that Virat Kohli’s team has maintained their dominant streak.

india vs australia 2017 Updated: Sep 25, 2017 20:04 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Hindustan Times, Indore
India vs Australia,Hardik Pandya,Virat Kohli
Indian cricketer Hardik Pandya has been in prime form against Australia in the ongoing ODI series.(AFP)

Hardik Pandya has been the game-changer for India in the ongoing series against Australia. His 83 in the Chennai ODI and his magnificent stand with MS Dhoni ensured India reached a formidable total.

In Indore, batting at No.4 for the first time, he displayed enough maturity to help India win by five wickets and seal the series in grand style.

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In this series, Pandya has established a blueprint in a way that will ensure momentum will swing India’s way. The key factors in this blueprint are -- read the situations accurately, identify the moment to change, hit big shots consistently to begin the process and then dictate terms to the opposition.

In Chennai, India were reeling at 87/5. Virat Kohli’s side faced a real Test. For Pandya, it represented a challenge.

The youngster responded brilliantly. India reached 148/5 in 36 overs with Pandya on 35 from 45 balls. Having taken the team to a semblance of safety, Pandya seized the moment and smashed three big sixes and a boundary off wrist spinner Adam Zampa in the 37th over. Twenty two runs were scored and the game turned. As many as 109 runs came in the last 13 overs and Australia was deflated.

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Maturity in Indore

In the Indore ODI chasing 294, India started aggressively thanks to Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane. When Pandya was promoted to bat at No.4 for the first time, it raised eyebrows. But, as revealed by Virat Kohli after the win, the plan was to attack the spinner and it was proposed by head coach Ravi Shastri.

The plan worked. Pandya went after Agar and hit him for four sixes. His partnerships of 56 and 78 with Kohli and Manish Pandey respectively also showcased his maturity where he could hang in and play according to the situation. Pandya’s feats in this series have underlined a certain method with which he approaches his batting.

After clinching the series, Pandya, in his typical swagger, stated that reading the situation was important. “It’s not just about hitting. That time (Chennai ODI), I thought that Zampa was bowling and I knew that I could hit a six off him anytime I wanted to. If I feel like, I go for it,” Pandya added.

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When it comes to hitting big sixes, Pandya had a simple answer. “I have been hitting sixes since childhood. I’m confident that I can clear the ground.”

Pandya’s all-round feats have given rise to comparisons with Kapil Dev. However, for the moment, Hardik Pandya would love nothing else but to hurt Australia again.

First Published: Sep 25, 2017 19:56 IST