Hardik Pandya starred with both bat and ball against Pakistan© AFP
Hardik Pandya‘a all-round performance helped Team India clinch their opening game of the Asia Cup against arch-rivals Pakistan on Sunday. From scalping three wickets to smashing 33 runs off 17 balls, Hardik was just unstoppable as his winning six took Team India across the line in the nail-biting thriller. The all-rounder has been receiving praises from all-over the world for his blistering performance and now former Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur also came forward to hail Hardik and said that he is “blossoming into a very fine cricketer”.
“He is a wonderful player. It is almost like India play with 12 players. It takes me back when I was with South Africa and we had Jacques Kallis. You have got a guy that can genuinely be one of your four seamers and can bat in Top 5. It is almost like playing with an extra player. I have seen Hardik mature and mature,” Mickey Arthur said on ESPNcricinfo’s T20 Timeout.
“Leadership around the last IPL was outstanding, he managed his team really well. He played the pressure situations really well for his team. I think he is blossoming into a very fine cricketer,” he added.
Talking about the match, Hardik returned figures of 3 for 25 in 4 overs alongside Bhuvneshwar Kumar‘s 4 for 26 to help India bowl out Pakistan for 147. The all-rounder then scored 33 not out off 17 balls to guide India home.
After the victory against the arch-rivals, Hardik had spoken on the challenges presented by the Babar Azam-led Pakistan in the game.
“First of all, very happy to get this win because it was very important for us. Our nerves were checked, as a team we were kind of challenged as well but loved the way he (Jadeja) came out and played as well. Jaddu and I have been playing together for 7-8 years,” Hardik said in a video posted on BCCI’s official website.
“The Indian team is known for Top 3, very grateful that we are also getting the opportunities now and we are able to do the job. Our process is to play the World Cup and get the maximum opportunities. So going ahead, if the similar situation presents itself, we will remember this game.”
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