Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya shared a crucial 133-run stand for the fifth wicket to help India beat England by 5 wickets in the series decider at Old Trafford, Manchester on Sunday. The duo took the game away from the hosts to script a memorable victory which helped India clinch the series 2-1.
India were four down for 72 when Pant joined hands with Pandya in the middle and the duo played with responsibility to get the job done. With a wide array of strokes at their disposal, both Pant and Hardik went about their task in a professional manner, rarely looking in any sort of discomfort.
Pant remained unbeaten on 125 runs off 113 balls which was laced with 16 fours and two sixes. While the flamboyant all-rounder scored 71 runs to give support to Pant during the 260-run chase
After the match, Hardik talked about his mindset during the match-winning partnership as he said that there was only one thing in his mind and he kept on telling himself to play risk-free shots and put pressure on the hosts.
“I was just repeating the same thing over and over again, it was important that we do not take any risks. The kind of talent Rishabh has and the kind of talent I have, without risks we can score runs. It was about not losing any wicket, there was just one way through which England could have come back that was if we lost wickets in a cluster. I was repeating the same thing, to build a partnership and bring the match close,” Hardik said in the post-match presentation.
Pant showed maturity during his maiden ODI century, however, he started a bit slow as Pandya said that he was a bit stuck at the start but when he got settled there was no stopping for him.
“I told Rishabh that close the match first and then you can enjoy. He got a bit stuck when he came in and, in the end, he started playing his shots. And everyone knows when Rishabh starts playing his shots, you just sit back and let him do this own thing,” he added.