Hardik Pandya Birthday Special: 91 vs KKR & Other Ridiculously Awesome Performances by Mumbai Indians All-Rounder in IPL
It was IPL only where Pandya first burst onto the scenes. The dasher played some sensational cameos in the 2015 edition of the gala tournament and played a crucial role in guiding MI to their second title. Within a year, the talented all-rounder made his India debut and didn’t look back after that.
One of the finest all-rounders going around in World Cricket, Hardik Pandya turns 27 on Sunday (October 11). Hailing from Baroda, Pandya is nothing but a match-winner in white-ball cricket, and his record is impressive too. The dasher’s hitting abilities are second to none in the end overs while his knack of taking wickets in crucial times makes him a captain’s field. Also, his fielding prowess is worth mentioning as, on many occasions, he made an impact on the game with a catch or a run-out. The Junior Pandya is also a vital cog of four-times Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Mumbai Indians.
In fact, it was IPL only where Pandya first burst onto the scenes. The dasher played some sensational cameos in the 2015 edition of the gala tournament and played a crucial role in guiding MI to their second title. Within a year, the talented all-rounder made his India debut and didn’t look back after that. His prowess enhanced with time as the Rohit Sharma-led side went on to lift the title in 2017 and 2019 as well. As the mainstay of Mumbai Indians line-up turns a year older, let’s revisit some of his best IPL performances.
61 vs Kolkata Knight Riders in 2015
Batting first at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai Indians lost four crucial wickets inside 80 runs and were likely to post a mediocre total. Although Kieron Pollard was still on the wicket, he wasn’t able to find boundaries against the likes of Sunil Narine and Morne Morkel. However, a young Pandya walked in at number six and shifted the momentum on MI’s favour. The dasher cleared the boundaries for fun and scored 61 off just 31 deliveries. As a result, MI posted 171/4 and went onto win the game by five runs.
35 & 2/19 vs Kolkata Knight Riders in 2018
Pandya was indeed at his all-round best when Mumbai hosted KKR in 2018. Batting first, the dasher was promoted up the order and didn’t disappoint. Batting at number four, the right-handed batsman found boundaries regularly as MI piled up 181/4. After troubling KKR with his batting prowess, Pandya came good with the bowl too. The pacer bowled economically and dismissed Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana in the process. Riding on his efforts, the Men in Blue & Gold win by 13 runs.
25 & 3/20 vs Chennai Super Kings in 2019
Facing the likes of Imran Tahir and Dwayne Bravo, the swashbuckler went absolutely berserk in Mumbai and played a fiery cameo. On a track where Rohit Sharma and Yuvraj Singh struggled to put bat on ball, Pandya smashed giant sixes. His 25-run cameo off eight balls guided Mumbai to 170/5 in the first innings. Just when CSK bowlers got a breather from Pandya’s hitting, the all-rounder showcased his powers with the ball. He dismissed MS Dhoni and Ravindra in one over as MI registered a 37-run triumph.
91 vs Kolkata Knight Riders in 2019
Chasing 233 at the Eden Gardens, MI were reduced to 58/4 as KKR’s victory looked inevitable. However, Pandya wasn’t ready to put his guards down. He went after the KKR bowlers from the outset and rained fours and sixes all over the park. From Andre Russell to Sunil Narine, every bowler faced Pandya’s wrath that night. At one stage, he was batting at 91 off 34 balls – looked all set to register the second-fastest IPL century. However, Harry Gurney dismissed him in the very next ball as Mumbai lost the game by 34 runs.
In the ongoing Dream11 IPL 2020, Pandya hasn’t been able to bowl due to his injuries. However, he has still contributed with the bat by playing some match-winning cameos. He’ll take the field later in the evening against Delhi Capitals and will aim to make his birthday even more special by playing a match-winning knock.