India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has said the thrilling five-wicket victory against Pakistan on Sunday night at the Dubai International Stadium had provided enough learnings to the side for close encounters in future, adding that the aim was to fine-tune for the T20 World Cup and the challenges that will come with it.
India defeated arch-rivals Pakistan by five wickets with just two balls to spare, with Pandya’s all-round show and Ravindra Jadeja’s knock of 35 playing key roles in the win.
Pandya registered figures of 3/25 and made 33 not out off 17 balls. He stitched a 52-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Jadeja (35 off 29) to take India over the line with two balls remaining. Eventually, Pandya finished off things in style by clobbering Mohammad Nawaz for a six over long-on.
“Our process is aimed at fine-tuning for the T20 World Cup (in Australia later this year) and the more opportunities we get, the better. If we get a similar situation again, so definitely we will fall back upon the learnings from this match (against Pakistan),” said Pandya in a video interaction with Jadeja posted by BCCI on its website on Monday.
Pandya conceded the target of chasing 147 on a tricky wicket wasn’t easy and that the side was “challenged”.
“Happy to get this win because it was very important for us… our nerves were checked. As a team, we were kind of challenged as well. But, love the way Ravindra Jadeja came out and played. For him the batting order was a bit different, the situation was different and the way he took his chances against the left-arm spinner (Mohammad Nawaz) that was very important,” said Pandya.
Jadeja also said it was important for him to perform in that situation, given that he had been promoted in the batting order.
“It was very important because I was promoted in the batting order. So, I was only thinking that I should take my chances against the spinners and try and play the big shots. Our partnership (Jadeja-Pandya stitched a 52-run stand) was very important from the game’s point of view. And, the way we interacted mid-pitch… that we will back our strengths and will play our natural shots that was very important,” said Jadeja.
Pandya also felt the partnership had brought the focus on the middle-order, as most of the time Indian batting is known for its “top three”.
“Jaddu (Jadeja) and I have been playing together for the last 7-8 years. It’s a big thing because the Indian team is known for its top three (batters). So, we are very grateful that we too are getting the opportunity to do this (win matches for the country),” added Pandya.