Ashish Nehra (Image Credit: Twitter)
Ashish Nehra (Image Credit: Twitter)

Hardik Pandya, who shone as a finisher on his return to the Indian team, denied a single to Dinesh Karthik on the penultimate delivery of the Indian innings in the first T20I on Thursday in New Delhi.

Former India fast bowler and Gujarat Titans head coach Ashish Nehra joked about Hardik Pandya’s decision to not give the strike back to Dinesh Karthik in the final over of India’s innings in the first T20I against South Africa on Thursday. Hardik Pandya denied a single in the penultimate delivery of the final over and asked Dinesh Karthik to return to the non-striker’s end.

Hardik Pandya returned to his finisher avatar as he smashed a brilliant 31 off 12 deliveries to power India to a mammoth total of 211.  Even after being at his best with the bat, fans and Gujarat Titans coach, Ashish Nehra, aren’t happy with Hardik Pandya. The reason is his refusal to take a single on the penultimate ball of India’s innings to give strike to Dinesh Karthik.

The move drew a lot of flak online and Twitter wasn’t really impressed with Hardik Pandya’s antics. Ashish Nehra said that he should have taken the single since it was Dinesh Karthik on strike and not the pacer himself.

Ashish Nehra reacts after Hardik Pandya denied a single to Dinesh Karthik
Ashish Nehra reacts after Hardik Pandya denied a single to Dinesh Karthik

Hardik Pandya Should Have Taken A Single In The Penultimate Delivery Of The Last 20th Over Feels Ashish Nehra

Hardik Pandya, who was India’s vice-captain in the first T20I of a 5-match series, hit 31 from just 12 deliveries in a stunning late overs assault, but all that he managed in the final delivery of the innings was a double (2 runs) after denying strike to Dinesh Karthik in the previous delivery.

Dinesh Karthik, who had made his comeback in Indian colours after a gap of 3 years (last played in the 2019 World Cup), got to face only 2 deliveries as he walked into bat only in the final over of the innings after Rishabh Pant, the stand-in captain, got out in the first delivery of that over.

“He should have taken a single in that final over. Dinesh Karthik was at the other end, it wasn’t me.” Ashish Nehra joked during his interaction.

Ashish Nehra, Hardik Pandya
Ashish Nehra, Hardik Pandya (Credits: Twitter)

Furthermore, the Gujarat Titans head coach heaped praise on Hardik Pandya for easing back into the role of the finisher for India in T20 cricket. Notably, it was the all-rounder’s first match for India after the 2021 T20I World Cup as the all-rounder had taken a break to recover from long-standing back injury issues.

Hardik Pandya hit 3 sixes and 2 boundaries as he effortlessly fit into the role of the finisher after having batted at No. 4 for Gujarat Titans throughout their winning campaign in IPL 2022. The newly appointed Indian vice-captain for the South Africa T20Is had led Gujarat Titans (GT) to glory in the recently concluded IPL 2022, shining at the No. 4 spot in his debut season as captain.

Hardik Pandya Can Play Any Role: Ashish Nehra

Ashish Nehra said Hardik Pandya can excel at any position, regardless of the format of the game because of his ability and the work he has put in to improve his batting skills.

“Hardik is such an actor that can play any role. Be it, a hero, or a villain. If you want him to play the heroine, he can do that also, because he has the ability and the game to bat in any situation,” Nehra joked.

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya

“Not just in T20I cricket but also in 50-over format and Test cricket. He has incredible ability in his batting. He can score runs in No. 4 and No. 3 as well. Hardik has played this finisher’s role for a long time. He can bat anywhere because of his ability and the work he has done,” he added.

India’s effort with the bat went in vain as South Africa chased down a 212-run target with 5 deliveries to spare, thereby ending the Asian giants’ 12-match-winning run in T20I cricket. David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen showed great composure as the duo helped South Africa beat India by seven wickets at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi on Thursday.

Rassie van der Dussen, who was dropped on 29 by Shreyas Iyer, scored an unbeaten 75 off 46 balls. His partner David Miller scored 64* off 31 balls. With this win, the tourists have taken a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.