Thiruvananthapuram: While Hardik Pandya, the batsman, has not delivered since the last few matches of the India versus Australia series till the conclusion of the India versus New Zealand ODI and Twenty20 series, Pandya, the fielder, has hardly put a foot wrong.
The same trait was on display as Virat Kohli-led side held its nerve and beat Kane Williamson and co. in a thrilling eight-over finale of the Twenty20 series. While the New Zealand bowlers restricted India to 67/5, India successfully defended the total and won the match at the Greenfield International Stadium by 6 runs to win the three-match Twenty20 series 2-1.
While Indian bowlers, especially Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal, were the standout performers, India fielded brilliantly to disallow New Zealand an easy passage of play. While Rohit Sharma took a screamer to send dangerous Colin Munro packing, Hardik Pandya chipped in with two brilliant run outs to keep New Zealand in check.
First, he ended Williamson’s innings on the third ball of the fifth over. Pandya ran in from mid-wicket, picked up the ball and with a direct hit, caught the New Zealand well short of his crease.
The brilliance of Pandya was once again on show as he and MS Dhoni joined hands to run out Tom Bruce in the penultimate over of the match.
The acrobatic all-rounder also impressed one and all with his stunning catch in the first Twenty20 of the series. So much so, that even the otherwise less expressive MS Dhoni could not hold back his reaction.