All-rounder Hardik Pandya was the star of the evening for India as they defeated Pakistan by five wickets in their opening match of the Asia Cup 2022 on Sunday. After picking up three wickets with the ball, Hardik finished the game for India by remaining unbeaten on 33 off 18 balls including four fours and a six that he hit to wrap up the game. With India battling a steep asking rate of almost 10 an over, Pandya kept his calm, and when the time came accelerated in fine fashion to see his side through over the line.
Pandya turned on the heat in the penultimate over of the innings, when he hit Haris Rauf for three fours brining the equation down from 21 off 12 to 7 off six balls. But with Ravindra Jadeja getting dismissed off the first delivery of the last over, India had to wait. At the non-striker’s end, Pandya’s expression when Jadeja was bowled by Mohammad Nawaz said it all. It was the first emption of any kind Pandya had displayed through the evening. Once Dinesh Karthik walked in and took a single off the first ball to put Pandya back on strike, India breathed a lot easier.
But there was more drama. With 6 needed off 4, Pandya tried to slap Nawaz through the off-side but the ball went straight to the fielder. As the whole of India watched with bated breath, Karthik said something to Pandya, to which the India all-rounder responded with a casual nod of the head, as if indicating ‘I’ve got this’. Sure enough, Pandya smoked the next ball over the long on boundary winning the match for India.
Pandya’s head-nod has since become the talk of the town. The confidence displayed by the all-rounder despite a dot ball previously did absolutely nothing to hamper his confidence, and trusting his own abilities, Pandya did exactly what he believed in – finish the match for India – and boy, did he do that in some swag. Here are some of the reactions on Twitter about Pandya’s now iconic head tilt.
Pandya came to bat at the fall of Suryakumar Yadav’s wicket, which was taken by Naseem Shah as he clean-bowled the India No. 4 batter. With Jadeja, Pandya added a game-altering 52-run partnership which did the job for India. Pandya’s efforts were lauded by former cricketers such as Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and his teammates Rohit Sharma, brother Krunal Pandya and Virat Kohli, who shared an Insta story calling Hardik a ‘king’.
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