Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar (Image Credit: Twitter)

Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya made a remarkable return to the Indian team after a seven-month hiatus owing to an injury break. Hardik, who is the vice-captain of India for the South Africa T20Is,  blazed 31 off 12 balls in the first T20I in New Delhi to power his side to 211/4 in the first innings.

Hardik picked up from where he left in the IPL 2022, an astounding campaign for Gujarat Titans in their title triumph in their maiden appearance in the cash-rich league. Hardik smashed two fours and three sixes, batting at a strike rate of 258.33 against the South Africa bowling attack.

Sunil Gavaskar names his favourite shot in Hardik Pandya’s innings

Hardik smashed Wayne Parnell for a six and a boundary before repeating the same treatment off Kagiso Rabada’s bowling in the penultimate over. He smacked Anrich Nortje for a six-over long-on in the final over. Former Indian player Sunil Gavaskar was amazed by Hardik’s shot against Nortje.

Hardik Pandya
PC- Twitter

“Amazing. That shot he played over long-on off Nortje, that was an incredible shot. Nortje is a quick bowler and the way he picked it, through the line over long-on was amazing. That is the reason why it is so exciting. You see Ishan Kishan at the top of the order, Rishabh Pant at four, Shreyas Iyer batter really well. At five Hardik Pandya and at six, Dinesh Karthik,” Gavaskar said on Star Sports. 

India lost to South Africa by seven wickets in first T20I

Apart from Hardik’s late carnage in the Indian innings, Ishan Kishan scored a blistering 48-ball 76, including 11 fours and three sixes, striking over 158. The southpaw smashed South African spinner Keshav Maharaj for 20 runs in four deliveries before holing out to Tristan Stubbs at long-on.

Ishan Kishan
Ishan Kishan Picture Credit- BCCI

Hardik and Ishan’s power-hitting went in vain as South Africa rode on the brilliance of Rassie van der Dussen (75*) and David Miller (64*) to script their highest run-chase in T20 Internationals.

India will play South Africa in the second T20I match on Sunday (June 12) at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack.

Also Read: IND vs SA: Sunil Gavaskar Believes Hardik Pandya Will Be India’s Game-Changer