India defeated Australia in the 3rd ODI in Indore to gain an unassailable lead of 3-0 in the 5-match series. The star of the show once again turned out to be Hardik Pandya as he scored a match-winning 78 off 72 balls to go with the crucial wicket of David Warner that he took earlier in the day.
During India’s chase of 293, when the 2nd wicket fell, Manish Pandey was expected to bat at No.4 but to everyone’s surprise, Hardik Pandya walked in to bat. The 23-year-old mentioned that the move was inspired by Ravi Shastri, the head coach, to counter the lone Australian spinner, Ashton Agar.
“The message was always simple. Play your game, however, you play. It depends, I can play all kinds of innings. Obviously, the plan was to target the spinners and it came out pretty well,” Hardik said.
Pandya went ballistic against Agar and smashed him to all parts during his stay. He took away the slight chance that the visitors had and handed his side the 3rrd win on the trot.
“It does not make any difference where I bat. Rather than seeing this as a challenge, I see this as an opportunity to do something nice for the team. When I was told I was going to go out to bat next, I was happy. This is the first time I played so many balls, so it was great,” he added.
“I just back myself… and in cricket, the confidence always matters and I’m confident that I can clear the ground. It’s not just about hitting. It’s pretty important that I read the game. That time I thought that (Adam) Zampa was bowling and I knew that I could hit a six off him anytime I wanted to. That’s why I waited till the seventh over and then I got the opportunity to change the momentum and eventually one over changed the momentum in that game (In Chennai ODI),” he continued.
India’s Ben Stokes?
Pandya has risen massively in the past few months and increasingly, he has been compared with England’s Ben Stokes. But the Indian all-rounder said he doesn’t think about those things and concentrates on playing his game.
“I don’t think that much. I focus only on the things which I can focus and right now I’m just playing my cricket. I just back myself and if you back yourself, you always come out on top. I mean you can’t score every day but yeah, backing yourself is pretty important,” Hardik Pandya concluded.