Hardik Pandya helped India win a close match against arch-rivals Pakistan on Sunday in the Group A match of the ongoing Asia Cup at the Dubai International Stadium with an unbeaten 33-run knock in only 17 balls. The Rohit Sharma-led Team India was in trouble after bowling out Pakistan for 147, but Hardik and Ravindra Jadeja (35) made sure the team did not fumble and crossed the finish line. Bhuvneshwar Kumar discussed the victory and how the game might have gone either way after it was won.
“After the 10 overs of our innings, it was a tight match. In those situations, the game can go either way. But the way Hardik and Jadeja batted, they played very well. But honestly, the match was 50-50. Till the time Hardik scored runs, the match was 50-50. We were praying that Hardik score runs. I can just pray that Hardik continues with his performances and he stays in this form in the World Cup as well,” said Bhuvneshwar during the post-match press conference. As India bowled out Pakistan for 147, Bhuvneshwar Kumar returned with scores of 4-26 in his four overs. In the third over of the innings, the seasoned seamer also secured Pakistan skipper Babar Azam’s crucial breakthrough.
“I am very happy with the performance, not just with the wickets. Yes, when you get wickets, you feel happy to contribute but sometimes bowling economically is also a contribution to the team’s cause. The way the others bowled as well, I think it was a complete team performance,” said Bhuvneshwar. “Once Babar was dismissed, we did not think that half of the Pakistan team has been dismissed. He is a good player but technically there were 9 other batters still left. As a team, we do not think that if the best batter is out, then half of the team is dismissed. But yes, once he was out, we knew their plans will be disturbed as the batter who plays the role of the anchor was gone,” he added.
Further talking about the pitch and the defeat India suffered against Pakistan last year, the pacer said: “Bowling first was the good option. The wicket had some grass and it was patchy so it was not suitable for the batters. So that is why we decided to bowl first.” “We had forgotten about the match against Pakistan that we lost last year. Honestly, as a cricketer we do not think about the result, I know people can have their expectations. We lose against other teams as well, but we do not talk about them that match as compared to when we lose against Pakistan. We just leave everything behind and keep moving ahead,” he added.