Baroda all-rounder Hardik Pandya blasted 34 runs in one over of a Delhi medium pacer Akash Sudan, who conceded a record 39 runs in an over in the final Group C of the Syed Mushtaq Ali domestic Twenty 20 tournament.
But, Delhi had the last laugh in the match as they managed a five-wicket victory in the match. Baroda would have fancied their chances after the carnage in the penultimate over of the innings that helped take their total to competitive 153. Pandya hit five sixes and one four of Sudan, who was made brutally aware of the vagaries of Twenty 20 cricket and life of the fast bowler bowling at the death. Till Pandya’s onslaught, he had conceded just eight runs in three overs and got two wickets.
Although it was a day match, Pandya was still bristling with excitement late in the evening as he recalled the sequence of his strokes. His innings comes at a handy time. His onslaught came in the wake of his selection in the India T20 squad for Australia tour.
Sudan was playing only his second game for Delhi but was given the responsibility of bowling the 19th over. The first ball was dispatched over long-on. The second ball went for four byes but Pandya reckoned he had “nicked” it.
Sudan followed up with a slower one, but Pandya lifted it for six. The next ball, a no-ball, went over midwicket for a third six. Then came a four through the same area and followed by a six over long on. Sudan dug the final delivery in short and Pandya slapped it confidently over long off to round off the most runs recorded in an over in T20 cricket. The previous record was 38 set by New Zealand’s Scott Styris.
Pandya’s big-hitting ability became known during the IPL 2015 when the champions Mumbai Indians used him as one of their finishers. He is the fifth-highest run-getter in Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament now.
Pandya said, he had, in fact, watched Sudan thrive in the death on his debut on Saturday. The medium pacer took 2 for 10 to help Delhi successfully defend a total of 91 against Goa in Vadodara.
“We were 60 for 6 after 12 overs. Then our score was 93 after 18 overs. I had to target him [Sudan]. I was not expecting to get nearly 40 runs,” Pandya told ESPNcricinfo. “My expectation was to get a couple of sixes. I just went with the flow.” Pandya was not shy in admitting this was his best in Twenty20 in an over. “I guess it is a record in domestic T20,” he said with a chuckle.
Despite Pandya’s effort, Delhi was one of two teams to go through to the Super eights without losing a single match. Vijay Dahiya, Delhi’s coach, praised Pandya for backing himself and putting pressure on Sudan. “He was fantastic and put pressure on Akash every ball and came out on top every ball.”
Both Delhi and Baroda will now progress into the Super eights, along with Vidarbha, Gujarat, Kerala, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Mumbai.