When he gave left-arm spinner Axar Patel the final over of the game, Hardik Pandya threw a curveball to the spectators and observers.
On Tuesday, January 3, a packed Wankhede saw a thrilling T20I series opener between India and Sri Lanka.
The match was ultimately won by the hosts by two runs after a back-and-forth struggle. Indian interim captain Hardik Pandya provided an explanation for his perplexing choice to give Axar Patel the final over in a dramatic conclusion of the 1st of 3 T20I’s.
Only 13 runs were required to get The Lankans over the line and the Indian skipper surprised everyone with his final over call. After Axar gave up a wide on the first delivery and was hit for a maximum on the third delivery, Pandya’s puzzling choice appeared to have backfired on Team India.
He maintained his composure, though, as Sri Lanka needed five runs of three deliveries to win the clash. Despite having one more over left in his own quota, the Indian captain explained why he chose to bowl Axar in the final over.
Pandya on giving the last over to Axar
“I want to put this team in difficult situations because it will help us in big games (on Axar bowling the last over). Bilaterals we are very good at and this is how we are going to challenge ourselves. To be honest, all the young guns got us out of the situation today. The conversation was very simple,”
he told the broadcasters.
The unpredictable all-rounder had nothing but admiration for Men in Blue debutant Shivam Mavi, who took four wickets in a standout performance at the Wankhede. With the new ball, Pandya was also impressive, getting it to bounce around a lot to worry the Lankan batters.
“I have seen him (Mavi) bowl well in the IPL and I know what are his strengths, just back yourself and don’t worry about getting hit. If the same situation is there then yes, I have worked on my swing bowling and I have worked on that (inswinger), I am bowling in nets and I like bowling with the new ball,”
Said Hardik Pandya.
For more Sports updates please follow us on Twitter