Hardik Pandya showed his class with both bat and ball in Wellington to help India win the final ODI against New Zealand and earn himself Sunday’s Play of the Day award, writes ANITHA MADIKIZELA.
India’s all-round trump card had a stunning time with the bat as he smashed a blistering cameo of 45 off 22 balls which included two fours and five phenomenal sixes during India’s target-setting innings which set up his side’s 35-run win. It was his second match back in the Indian team following a BCCI-imposed suspension.
Pandya came out all guns blazing and hit Nathan Astle for a hat-trick of sixes, which was the fifth time in his international career he had gone three-for-three in clearing the ropes in an ODI. Pandya went on to smash a total of five sixes and two fours as he powered India to a strong finish, enabling them to reach 252 before the innings closed with one ball to spare.
— BCCI (@BCCI) February 3, 2019
The 25-year-old’s rapid-fire 45 came off 22 balls at a strike-rate of 204.54, and he followed up with two wickets in the New Zealand innings, including trapping dangerman Ross Taylor leg-before for a single.
Pandya ended with figures of 2-50 (econ 6.25), but the Player of the Match award went to Ambati Rayudu, whose 90 off 113 balls (8×4, 4×6, S/R 79.64) provided the backbone for the innings and the foundation from which Pandya was able to launch his assault on the Kiwi bowling attack.
Pandya himself took to social media to congratulate his side on their historic achievements during the summer as the win is their second series triumph away from home since the beginning of the year.
— hardik pandya (@hardikpandya7) February 3, 2019
New Zealand and India will next face off against each other in a three-match T20I series beginning with a day/night encounter in Wellington on Wednesday.
Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images