Kohli scored an influential knock of 92 in the 2nd ODI against India, helping India to make it 2-0 before his side wrapped the series in the 3rd ODI on Sunday, thanks to a dazzling all-around display from Hardik Pandya. India has jumped to the top of the ODI rankings, for now, overtaking Australia and South Africa, but can still slip to the number-two spot if the visitors win the next two games.
Pandya's six-hitting abilities are well known. Tomorrow, he may bat at 80 for 4, like he did in the first ODI with Dhoni. Pandya was named the man of the match for his exploit with the bat. And to be honest, I used to hit sixes before too, it's just that I am hitting them at a higher level now. I wanted to target the left-arm spinner. In reply, India was off to a flying start after Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma put on 139 for the first wicket. "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)". Rather than seeing this as a challenge, I see this as an opportunity to do something nice for the team. Pandya said. "Play your game, however you play". I tried it and it came out pretty well. Incidentally, even John Wright, the former India coach and a talent scout for Mumbai Indians, was also in attendance for the match and it didn't come as a surprise that Pandya was signed up for his base price of Rs. 10 lakh in the auction a few weeks later.
Kohli tweeted a video soon after the win, calling Pandya "the man of the moment" who had proved his credentials when he was promoted to bat at No. 4 on the night. Kohli also revealed why Pandya was sent in the middle.
Many legends and experts have already hailed Pandya as one of the greatest gifts the sport has received in a long time. We have been wanting a guy like that for the past five, six years.
The 23-year-old Pandya, who survived a dropped chance by skipper Steve Smith off Agar on 41, once again made it count for India after his 83 in the opening game in Chennai.
As the team management goes about finding the best team for the World Cup project, Pandya's form remains central to the balance of the side. I can play all kinds of innings.
"This concept of "play your natural game", which I hear all the time, frustrates me because there's no such thing in my belief as 'natural game.' It's only about how you play different situations", Dravid said. Earlier, Pandya picked up well-set batsman David Warner and later played a wonderful knock of 78 runs while chasing 294. And now Kapil Dev has become the latest legend to join the Pandya-fan club.
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