Hardik Pandya has been a massive presence in Mumbai’s lower middle-order in the Indian T20 League since making his debut in the 2015 season. A hard-hitting fast bowling all-rounder is a rarity in India and Hardik milked the opportunity to reap success. Here are three unforgettable knocks from the Mumbai champion in the competition.
35* vs Pune - 2017
The value of a lower middle-order batsman in T20 cricket does not always arise from big scores. A high impact knock goes a long way in helping the team and it is in this role that Hardik Pandya has thrived for Mumbai.
In 2017, he blasted Pune in the final over to give his side a fighting chance after a below-par 19 overs with the bat. Pandya struck Ashok Dinda for 28 runs in the last over of the innings, hitting four sixes and a four in five balls before being dismissed. Pandya's 35 came off just 15 balls and took Mumbai to 184 from 154/7 in 19 overs. They, however, went on to lose the game.
91 vs Kolkata - 2019
2019 was Pandya's year with the bat as he tormented sides with his big-hitting against pace and spin alike. He was particularly brutal on the spinners and Kolkata coped a large brunt of his incredible skills when he smashed 91 off just 34 balls against them last season. Chasing a massive 233 for a win after an Andre Russell special, Hardik Pandya matched the Windies all-rounder shot for shot. He walked in at 58/4 and blasted Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla around to race to a 17-ball half-century. He went on to make 41 in the next 17 balls but was dismissed in the 18th over and Mumbai failed to gun down the target.
61* vs Kolkata - 2015
In his debut season in 2015, Hardik Pandya was seen as a slogger who could play brilliant cameos from down the order. His true batting abilities hadn't yet unfolded before the world but in this game against Kolkata, we were treated to a Hardik special. He walked in at the fall of Rohit Sharma's wicket at 79/4 in the 12th over and smashed 61 in 31 balls with two sixes and eight fours. Mumbai made 171 powered by Hardik's knock and went on to win by 5 runs as the all-rounder won the Man of the Match award.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Manjunath Kiran