Hardik Pandya said India’s performance in the nine-wicket win over West Indies to level the five-T20I series 2-2 on Saturday was a show of character, and exactly what he had asked of them after losing the first two matches.
India picked regular wickets on a batting-friendly pitch in Lauderhill to restrict West Indies to 178/8. Arshdeep Singh (3/38) and Kuldeep Yadav (2/26) shone with the ball, before Yashasvi Jaiswal (84 off 51) and Shubman Gill (77 off 47) put up a 165-run opening stand to eventually lead the team to a nine-wicket win.
“We lost two games, but the first game was down to our errors,” Pandya said at the post-match presentation. “At the end, in the last four overs, we messed it up and didn’t cross the line. We did much different in the next two games. We spoke in the group that these are the games which you step up and show character. Boys took it to their stride, they were happy to take up the challenge.”
Pandya, who’s standing in for Rohit Sharma but looks set to continue as the T20 captain for the foreseeable future, said his captaincy is instinctive and he likes to take decisions according to how he reads situations.
“Shubman and Yashasvi were brilliant” – Hardik Pandya
Jaiswal and Gill displayed exactly what any T20 side looks for in an opening partnership. The left-hander took on the bowlers in the powerplay as Gill took his time to get in before both started striking at more than 200 at one point.
Pandya was pleased to see his batters taking responsibility and helping out the bowlers, who’ve been good all series.
“They (West Indies) got some runs in the end, but the couple of wickets that we took in the middle harmed them, and then, of course, Shubman and Yashasvi were brilliant. The way they ran in this heat, making sure that the job was done, was brilliant. It was very pleasing to see.”
The captain thanked the Indian fans for turning up to the ground in big numbers. He concluded by saying that his team will try to repeat the dominating performance in the final T20I which will begin at the same venue in less than 24 hours.