T20 World Cup: 'I've not always succeeded but...', Hardik reacts on last-over heroics in final

by IANS |

 June 30 (IANS) After delivering a match-defining final over in India's T20 World Cup win, all-rounder Hardik Pandya said that he has been in such situations before adding that though he has not always succeeded, but has always enjoyed pressure situations. In a summit clash against South Africa, India lost three wickets in quick succession, but then Virat Kohli and Axar Patel forged a crucial 72-run partnership for the fourth wicket, propelling India to a competitive total of 176/7. In response, when South Africa came tantalizingly close with impressive performances from Quinton de Kock (39), Heinrich Klaasen (52), Tristan Stubbs (31), and David Miller (21). But, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik turned the table with their scintillating show to help India fight back in the match and emerge victorious to end an 11-year-long global trophy drought as they restricted South Africa to 169/8. "We always believe we can do it. It was just about how we execute our plans, stay calm, and let the pressure come to them. I mean, credit to Jassi and the fast bowlers; the way they bowled those last 4-5 overs changed everything. And yeah, it was about time to get it," said Hardik after the match. In the chase, David Miller joined Heinrich Klaasen as their combined big hitting got the required run rate down to a run a ball, with 30 deliveries remaining. But, Hardik removed the latter in the 17th over. Then, Bumrah removed Marco Jansen shortly afterwards. And Hardik struck again to get rid of Miller in the first ball of the final over for 21, which proved to be the final nail in the coffin. Speaking about his on his bowling during the last over, Hardik said. "I knew pretty surely that if I wasn’t going to be calm, it wouldn't help me. So for me, it was simple: execute my plans and make sure that every ball I bowl, I commit 100%. So yeah, I mean, I have been in this situation before. Yes, I have not always succeeded, but I have always enjoyed pressure situations. All of a sudden, my run-up speed increased as well when the time came. So yeah, it’s been wonderful, and I have very much enjoyed it." Notably, it was head coach Rahul Dravid's last day at the office as his contract ends with the culmination of the T20 World Cup. Reflecting on Dravid's stint as a coach, Hardik asserted, "I'm very happy for him; he's been a wonderful man. I really enjoyed working with him, and to give him a farewell like this, as his coaching career ends, must be a wonderful feeling for him. "You know, I have had a very good relationship with him; we kind of became friends, and I am very excited and happy for him with the way things are going. His support for us and the team has been integral for years," he concluded. --IANS bc/

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