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T20 World Cup 2024: Hardik Pandya back among runs bodes well for Team India

T20 World Cup 2024: Hardik Pandya among the runs and wickets is a great sign for Team India as they aim semi-final spot.

T20 World Cup 2024: Hardik Pandya has taken 8 wickets in WC so far | Walking Wicket (Source_ ©BCCI/X)
Hardik Pandya has taken 8 wickets in WC so far (Source: ©BCCI/X)

Cricket is a great leveller. Just a month ago, Hardik Pandya was the villain of Mumbai Indians (MI) and Gujarat Titans (GT) fans. He was booed by fans and his poor performance and captaincy made matters worse. A few weeks later, he is back to doing what he does best – winning matches for India. 

He filled in as the fourth seamer brilliantly in the USA leg of the T20 World Cup 2024. He is also excelling as the third seamer in the Super Eights. But the biggest positive has been his batting that has evolved from making impact cameos to match-winning fifties. Here’s a look at how Pandya has evolved as an all-rounder in the 2024 World T20.

Hardik Pandya: the bowler

IPL 2024 was a forgettable tourney for Pandya. He was smashed by batters in the death overs. He never looked in good mental space to perform to his potential. But come the World T20, he put his head down and bowled brilliant spells to get useful breakthroughs for India. He came in as the fourth seamer in the USA leg of the tournament, taking wickets and ensuring India didn’t let the foot down and keep piling up the pressure. His intelligent line and length that yielded him wickets was particularly noteworthy. 

Earlier, Pandya was guilty of bowling too short repeatedly. But in the World T20, he has used short bowling as a shock weapon to outwit the opponents. His short balls to the Pakistan middle-lower order helped him scalp crucial wickets. When he came in as a third seamer in the West Indies leg of the tournament, he was bang on with his disciplined bowling, giving no respite for the opposition batters to score easy runs off him. 

His 8 wickets in 5 matches speak volume of his growing stature as a pace bowler. His clever change of pace, line and length helped him bag crucial wickets in the middle-overs, helping India dominate the opposition.

T20 World Cup 2024_ Hardik Pandya scored 27 ball fifty against Bangladesh  _ Walking Wicket (Source_ ©BCCI_X)
Pandya scored 27 ball fifty against Bangladesh (Source: ©BCCI/X)
Hardik Pandya: the batter

Hardik Pandya didn’t get enough chances to bat in the initial few games, but when he did, he made it count. In the game against Afghanistan, he played a crucial cameo of a 24-ball 32 and stitched a match-winning stand of 60 runs for the fifth wicket. Although Suryakumar Yadav walked away with all the accolades for his 28-ball 53, his cameo was equally devastating. 

But it was the Bangladesh game that Pandya showed his full range of his batting as he batted intelligently to score a match-winning 50 not out off 27 balls. There was no slog or outrageous shots. He rather relied on placements, gaps and timing to strike crucial fours and sixes at the death. It shows the batting-maturity of Pandya, who understood the urgency of batting skilfully on the slow tracks of West Indies rather than relying on power-hitting. Overall, it was a great display of skilful batting from Pandya.

How it bodes for India

With Pandya coming good with the bat, India’s batting has lengthened, allowing top-order batters to bat more freely and aggressively with the safety cushion of a batting line-up that can turn things around despite early setbacks. Hence, Pandya gives the freedom to Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant to bat as freely as possible. He is always there to take care of the innings at the death, if need be. 


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