Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya reached the rare double of half-century and three-wickets in a single T20I match, becoming only the second Indian player to achieve the record after Yuvraj Singh. The former Indian cricketer was the first Indian to touch the unique record in 2009/10 series vs Sri Lanka, where the left-hander entertained his home crowd at Mohali.
It took quite some time for another Indian to reach the feat, but it was finally managed by Hardik Pandya, who has been in blistering form since his return into the cricketing fold, after a long battle with back injury.
After India chose to bat first in the opening T20I, Pandya scored a crucial half century in the middle order. His 51 off 33 balls, kept the team racing as the other batsmen kept getting out despite getting good starts. Partnering up with the likes of Suryakumar Yadav and Axar Patel, Pandya added quick runs to keep India’s threshold above 10 runs per over. At the time of getting out, he had India at 180/6 in 18.4 overs.
India finished at 198/8 after their 20 overs and came out to defend it with good zeal. Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave India a huge breakthrough in the first over by taking the wicket of Jos Buttler but from there it was all about Hardik Pandya.
In his first over, he took two wickets, first by castling Dawid Malan and the producing a top edge from the dangerous Liam Livingstone. If that was not enough, Pandya dismissed Jason Roy as well,, who never quite got going on the day.
With Hardik Pandya breaking the back of the English attack, the hosts never found the momentum to reach the 199 target, despite batting on a lovely deck at Southampton.
At the time of writing, half the English side had gone back home in the 13th over, and Moeen Ali was batting alongside newcomer Sam Curran.
— ENDS —