Hardik Pandya is an exciting cricketer but the all-rounder has not been able to display his talent the way he would have loved to in the last six months. First, he saw himself getting stretchered off the ground during a match against Pakistan in Asia Cup last September. He remained out of the game for some months and then made a decent comeback in a Ranji Trophy match in December.
But just when he was about to make his India return in Australia, Hardik was hit by a television controversy and found himself getting suspended temporarily along with KL Rahul. He then returned to international cricket in the series in New Zealand but missed the recent home series against Australia because of a back injury again.
The 25-year-old now has only the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 at his disposal to gain back form ahead of the upcoming World Cup as there is no international assignment left. The Mumbai Indians (MI) all-rounder, however, had a poor outing in the first match against the Delhi Capitals, going wicketless and falling for zero. But Hardik was at his vintage best in the second match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Bengaluru on Thursday.
Hardik shows his vintage form, belts 32 off 14 with three sixes
The MI had a good opening but then saw their middle-order batsmen failing to capitalise on the Quinton de Kock-Rohit Sharma pair’s firework up the order. MI lost half their side at 145 after 16 overs and one run after Hardik reached the crease, his brother Krunal also perished. The batsman then only had the tail to accompany him but he executed the job perfectly. In 14 deliveries that Hardik Pandya faced, he slammed an unbeaten 32 with the help of two fours and three sixes.
Of the three sixes that Hardik hit, two came against pacer Mohammed Siraj in the final over while the other against Navdeep Saini. Hardik hit a huge maximum in the third ball of the over but followed it up an even bigger one two balls later, sending the ball somewhere in the top tier of the stadium.
He then showed his muscles to his partner Jasprit Bumrah with a clear sense of satisfaction. The delivery was full but Hardik Pandya had planted himself in the best position to play it. He went deep into his crease and connected it with absolute perfection. The ball travelled full 104 metres. The over cost RCB 15 runs as Hardik’s knock took his team to a competitive score of 187 for 8 in 20 overs.