Credit: X

Credit: X

The Indian all-rounder,  Hardik Pandya, began the T20 World Cup 2024 campaign for the national team grandly, picking up three wickets against Ireland in the tournament opener at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York on Wednesday, June 5. This performance was a stark contrast to his form in the recently concluded IPL 2024 season, struggling for runs and wickets with Mumbai Indians.

The captain of India, Rohit Sharma, introduced Hardik Pandya into the bowling attack after the powerplay, and he rewarded him with a wicket of Lorcan Tucker going through a big gap between bat and pad to knock his stumps over. In his second over, the right-arm fast bowler got Curtis Campher to sky a ball high, straight to the wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant.

Hardik Pandya also accounted for the wicket of Mark Adair in the latter stages of his four-over spell, finishing up with figures of 3/27, including a maiden over, to play a key role in bundling out Ireland for just 96 runs. Notably, the Indian vice-captain also impressed with the bat and ball in the warm-up match against Bangladesh before the T20 World Cup 2024.

The start of the ongoing ICC tournament is completely different for Hardik Pandya in comparison to his poor showing in the IPL 2024 as captain of the Mumbai Indians. He scored just 216 runs in 14 matches for MI in the recently concluded season, at an average of just 18, while his strike rate wasn’t quite at his high standards either.

With the ball in hand in IPL 2024, Hardik Pandya picked only 11 wickets in 14 matches, conceding runs at 10.75 runs. Under his captaincy, Mumbai Indians finished at the bottom of the points table, raising a lot of questions about his leadership skills and individual play as well.

All in all, the change in fortunes for Hardik Pandya is a big positive sign for the Indian cricket team, who are looking to secure their first ICC trophy in more than 10 years.