Hardik Pandya.
Hardik Pandya. Image Credit: X

The star India all-rounder, Hardik Pandya is looking forward to their second challenge of the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, in the West Indies and the United States of America). The intensity will be more, given it will be against the arch-rival side, Pakistan, as Pandya has shared his view of looking at the game as an exciting challenge rather than a ‘fight’.

India started their T20 World Cup campaign on a dominating note, as they blew away Ireland in their opening game at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York. The inaugural champions of the competition bundled out the Irish team for just 96-runns, before chasing it down successfully with seven wickets in hand, and almost eight-overs to spare.

If India go on to win the encounter, then they will have a great chance of getting qualified for the ‘Super 8’ stage, as their last two games are against Canada and co-host USA team.

‘This is not a fight; this is going to be history’ – Hardik Pandya

Both teams are coming into this affair with various emotions, even though India earned a vital victory, Pakistan are coming on the back of their heart-breaking opening defeat to the USA. The ‘Men in Green’ didn’t show great skills in their batting department, while their experience bowling line-up lacked some juice.

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The Babar Azam-led side lacked a proper planning, along with failing to execute whatever resources they had in the side. It was quite surprising to see the body language too, as they failed in the ‘Super-over’ chase during the clash.

The attention coming into the tournament was how would Hardik Pandya react going into the tournament, given his recent issues on and off the field, coming from a tough Indian Premier League (IPL), leading the Mumbai Indians (MI), who finished with the wooden spoon in the points table.

In six T20Is against Pakistan, Hardik’s contributions with the bat have been quite moderate, as he has nailed 84 runs in those games, at a highest score of 40, but has shown impressive performance with the ball in hand, claiming 11 wickets at a spectacular economy rate of 7.5, thanks to his best bowling figure of 3/8.

Even though it was Virat Kohli’s single handed performance of unbeaten 82-runs that carried them over the line during the last T20 World Cup game at the MCG, it was Pandya’s 40-run knock in the 113-run stand with Kohli, that helped them recovering from an early damage.

The all-rounder empathized on how special these big games are, and is lucky enough to do well in a lot of these sorts of clashes.

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‘Standing in big games is very exciting for me. I find it extra special and Pakistan has been one team where I have been very fortunate, I have been able to do well in a lot of games,” In an exclusive interview with the ‘Star Sports’, Hardik Pandya expressed his views.

The 30-year-old almost hopes that as a team they will aim to stay discipline in the field, and enjoy the moments as a group.

‘It all comes down to the vibe. Hold your breath, this is a request. This is not a fight; this is going to be history. India-Pakistan has always been very exciting, lot of cheer and buzz, a lot of emotion and a lot of excitement. At the same time, I hope we will be disciplined in that game, one goal as a group is we go and kind of hunt. So, if we can do that, I think it will be one more nice day for us,”Gujrat-born Hardik Pandya remarked.