New Delhi: India all-rounder Hardik Pandya was awarded with the Man of the Match award for his brilliant, counter attacking knock in the first ODI match against Australia in Chennai on Sunday. The youngster, however, has someone else to hail for his knock.
Batting first, India witnessed a rare top-order collapse against a disciplined new ball attack from the Aussies. But the coming together of former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Pandya proved the difference in the match, which witnessed rain-stoppages too.
The 23-year-old joined Dhoni in the centre India were at 5 for 87, then they stitched a 118-run stand for the six wicket to help India post a good total of 281 runs.
Padya made 83 off 66 balls with the help of five fours and five sixes. While defending the total, he also took two wickets to help India's cause.
During the innings break, he shared the golden words shared by Dhoni and how the presence of former captain helped calm nerves.
“They [Australia] were on top, and the pressure was there. We [India] lost wickets, and it was important for me to make a partnership with MSD [Dhoni]. We were speaking how we needed to change things up. When me and Mahi bhai were batting we were looking at 230. I will take 280,” Pandya said about their talk.
Dhoni, regarded as possibly the greatest ever finisher, played a crucial knock to held the innings together. He scored 79 runs off 88 balls with the help of four fours and two fours.
“It is a pleasure to play with him. I mean, I have learnt a lot from him, still learning,” Pandya said after his knock.
India won the match by 26 runs in the rain-truncated match.