“This Indian team is more secure than any team I’ve played for. Credit goes to the management and captain.” Hardik Pandya

Just after the toss, Hardik Pandya would say that this team was the “most secure than any other team” he has played in. “I have been in and out of the team but they [my team-mates] respect and value me. That helps me perform better. A lot of credit goes to the management and captain. Because of that this team is more secure than any team I’ve played for,” Pandya told Star Sports.”

Hardik Pandya came up with a special all-around effort as India won the match by five wickets against Pakistan on Sunday. Pandya (33 not out off 17) and Ravindra Jadeja (35 off 29) then shared a 52-run stand to take India on the cusp of a famous win. The star all-rounder’s three fours off Haris Rauf off the 19th over effectively sealed the game for India.

In the post-match presentation, Hardik Pandya said, “In bowling my plans are simple. It’s important to assess conditions, and situations and use the weapons – hard lengths are my strength. I use it wisely, put doubt in the batsmen, and ask them to play the wrong shots.

In batting over the years I have understood that if I stay calmer, I can execute my plans. Those 50-50 chances I take, if I stay calm, I can do it my way.”

The all-rounder also opined, “I always knew that there was one guy who was making his debut and there was one left-arm spinner. I fancied my chances. Even if there was 15 needed in the last over, I would have fancied my chances. I try to keep my mind clear. I know that bowler is under more pressure bowling the 20th over to me. It’s not an ego thing. Just that spinner and all.”

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam stated, “We were a few runs short but made a comeback in our bowling. Our fast bowlers were good. Dhani stepped up (with batting) and he also bowled well. Unfortunately, we couldn’t finish off.”

On the last over bowled by the left-arm spinner, he explained, “We were trying to take it deep. He bowled well and Hardik finished it well. Naseem was very good, the way he bowled and showed his aggression.”

The winning captain, Rohit Sharma was elated and said, “We knew that belief was always there in our group. No matter what the situation is we can pull it off. These things can happen often in the game. We can pull off games like that. We believe in the quality of players. We want to give enough clarity to what they can do in middle. It was challenging but I would take wins like this rather than one-sided wins.

The bowlers are getting better over the last few months. It’s about giving them the confidence to deliver what they are expected to do. Yes, they were challenged a bit but overcoming them will give them confidence. Hardik Pandya since he has made his comeback has been brilliant. He had a great Ipl. When he was out of the team, he got into a fitness regimen, figured out what he had to do with his body, hits 140 kmph now, and has been brilliant for us.”

The Indian skipper also added, “He has been a lot calmer, quite confident youngster, knows what he wants to do. He knows what sort of fields he wants. Very confident. Can bowl quick – the bouncers he bowled today.  It’s about understanding the game -and he does that now. He was calm in taking the team through. High-pressure game, 10 runs per over, and there are times when one could panic but he didn’t.”

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