Team India have opened their Asia Cup 2022 with a victory over arch-rivals Pakistan as Indian star Hardik Pandya displayed an all-round performance to clinch the match for the Men in Blue on Sunday. Former Indian cricketer Wasim Jaffer praised the man of the match performance by Hardik Pandya.
Indian bowlers restricted Pakistan on 147 runs in 19.5 overs as Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked four wickets while Hardik Pandya dismantled Pakistan's batting attack by taking three wickets. Indian stars Virat Kohli (35), Ravindra Jadeja (35), and finisher Hardik Pandya (33*) helped India chase the target with five wickets remaining.
Former Team India Test opener Wasim Jaffer has applauded Hardik Pandya for his match-winning performance against Pakistan in India's opening Asia Cup 2022 fixture.
"He is a great player and also is in tremendous form. It’s good to see him bat and bowl like the way he does. He’s playing an important role and he is an invaluable player in this Indian team,” Jaffer told CricTracker.
With the tremendous all-round contribution from Pandya, Jaffer believed that India can play an extra batter like Deepak Hooda for the middle overs.
Jaffer said, “I think it is because of Hardik’s contribution, India can afford to play without a premium bowler. I think India can play a lesser seamer in the coming matches (sic). Maybe the team can drop Avesh Khan and play Deepak Hooda to strengthen the middle order or can go with Ravi Bishnoi, considering the big ground [dimensions] in mind. You will only get this option when Hardik is bowling."
Team India will play their next Asia Cup 2022 match against Hong Kong on August 31 at the Dubai International Stadium.