New Delhi: Hardik Pandya's selection in the playing eleven for the 2nd T20I against Sri Lanka was hardly a forgone conclusion.
Hence, MS Dhoni's decision to name an unchanged side with series on the line raised several eyebrows.
With several cracks on the Ranchi track, many believed Pandya would be replaced by Pawan Negi. But Dhoni stuck with the former.
The Baroda all-rounder scored 2 runs and didn't make an impression with the bat in the 1st T20I in Pune. Also, Pandya did not get any opportunities to bat in Australia.
Hence it was critical for him to deliver on Friday.
That's exactly what Pandya did, as he hit a 12-ball 27. His innings included a four and 2 sixes, completely changing the complexion of the game.
At a time when the Indian innings was losing a bit of momentum, Pandya's cameo gave it a timely impetus.
More importantly, with Yuvraj Singh not back to his best and Dhoni unable to deliver lusty blows, the 22-year-old adds great value to the side with his hard-hitting ability.
Another good outing in the decider will help Pandya not just gain more confidence, but also cement a place in the eleven for the Asia Cup and WorldT20.