Gujarat Titans skipper Hardik Pandya, on Thursday, scored a ferocious 87 runs* off 52 balls to lead his team to a formidable total of 192/4 against Rajasthan Royals. It was the second half-century for Pandya in a row as he earlier smashed an unbeaten 50 against Sunrisers Hyderabad. The flamboyant all-rounder faced scrutiny for not switching gears in the last match but he didn’t disappoint anyone on Thursday. The skipper paced his innings quite well and smashed boundaries at regular intervals to put pressure on the opposition.
Gujarat lost their top three wickets early with 53 on the scoreboard but Pandya held his ground and played responsibly to take his team to a formidable total against a quality bowling attack.
Pandya and Abhinav Manohar (43 off 28) shared 86 runs for the fourth wicket to stabilize the innings after the early blows.
To start with, Pandya was aggressive on pacer Kuldeep as he hammered him for three successive boundaries in the fifth over and after that, he just didn’t stop and smashed every bowler who came in his way.
The fans on Twitter were highly impressed with Pandya’s ferocious knock and said it’s the best version of him.
Hardik Andya sending out strong message to the selectors with his performances this IPl. Batting superbly, brilliantly, looking sharp in his bowling and more importantly bowling full quota of overs.everything the Indian team needs— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) April 14, 2022
Hardik last played for India way back in the 2021 T20 World Cup and after that, he took a sabbatical from competitive cricket to work on his fitness. He was faced a lot of scrutiny during the T20 WC for his bowling fitness. The 28-year-old worked hard on that and passed the fitness test at National Cricket Academy with flying colours before the IPL. He has completed his quota of four overs in all the matches so far for Gujarat Titans ahead of Thursday’s clash.
The flamboyant all-rounder also got the Orange Cap after the end of the first innings but Jos Buttler took it back from him without wasting much time in the second innings. Buttler smashed three boundaries in the first over of Mohammed Shami to get it back from Pandya.
Earlier, Gujarat Titans lost opener Matthew Wade (12) cheaply, courtesy a direct hit by Rassie Van Der Dussen from cover.
Gujarat slipped to 15/2, as Vijay Shakar (2) also perished cheaply and then a rusty looking Shubman Gill (13) became Parag’s first victim, after he was caught by Shimron Hetymar at the long-on fence.