In a thrilling series decider against the West Indies, stand-in India captain Hardik Pandya played a pivotal role in leading his team to victory, and he gave credit to former skipper Virat Kohli for his crucial knock. Pandya’s unbeaten 70 runs off 52 balls propelled India to a mammoth total of 351/5, setting the stage for a comprehensive win at Brian Lara Stadium, Trinidad.
Having struggled in the first two ODIs, Hardik Pandya approached the series decider with determination and focus. However, before taking the field, he had a significant conversation with Virat Kohli, who advised him to take his time in the middle and get accustomed to the 50-over format.
Speaking about the valuable advice he received from Kohli, Pandya said, “I took it deep intentionally, wanted to have some time out in the middle. Had a great chat with Virat before the game, he wanted me to spend some time out in the middle and get used to the 50-over format.”
Pandya’s innings was a mix of patience and power. He carefully bided his time before unleashing an array of exquisite shots during the slog overs, dismantling the West Indies’ bowling attack and guiding India to a massive total. His partnership of 65 runs in 8.1 overs with Suryakumar Yadav was crucial in accelerating the innings.
Expressing his gratitude towards Kohli for sharing his experience, Hardik Pandya highlighted the importance of finding rhythm and confidence in the middle. The advice proved to be a turning point for Pandya, as he showcased his full range of skills with both the bat and ball.
Among other contributors to India’s impressive total were Ishan Kishan (77), Shubman Gill (85), and Sanju Samson (51). Their significant contributions, combined with Pandya’s masterful knock, ensured India’s dominance in the match.
The West Indies struggled to mount a response to India’s imposing total, crumbling to 50 for six before being bowled out for 151 in 35.3 overs. Shardul Thakur and Mukesh Kumar led the charge for India with four and three wickets, respectively, showcasing the team’s bowling depth and versatility.
The decision by Skipper Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to rest for this match allowed World Cup hopefuls an opportunity to prove their mettle. However, the West Indies team’s struggles and India’s resounding win raised questions about the team’s overall composition and readiness for upcoming challenges.
Hardik Pandya’s standout performance and the team’s dominant victory serve as a promising sign for India’s cricketing future. With a talent-packed squad and experienced leaders like Kohli, the team appears well-prepared to take on any challenge that comes their way.
The series decider was a memorable clash, highlighting the exciting talent and depth in Indian cricket. As the team celebrates their triumph in the West Indies, fans eagerly await their future battles and the thrilling encounters they will bring to the cricketing world.