Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya credited Rohit Sharma for the team’s comprehensive win in the series-clinching third and final T20 International against England, saying it was a special innings from the elegant batsman after two ordinary outings.
Rohit struck his third T20I hundred as India chased down a 199-run target with seven wickets in hand here on Sunday to pocket the three-match series 2-1.
“Rohit played amazingly well. He was outstanding and played a fantastic hand. He won the game single-handedly for us. We expect that from him. I haven’t seen anyone hit the ball as hard as Rohit,” Hardik told reporters at the post-match press conference.
“Not having two good games and then coming back to play such an innings, that is special. It shows the confidence players have in this team, in themselves. It all comes down to the support staff. They have been great,” he added.
The 24-year-old medium-pacer, however, had a nightmare start to his afternoon when he conceded 22 runs in his first over.
“To be honest, I see the T20 format as a funny game. You need to back yourself and bowl your best balls.
“I still remember after getting hit for 22, I was still normal. If you come and bowl the right lengths, and take wickets on this kind of pitch, eventually you will stop runs,” Hardik said.
“My focus was to make sure that I bowled different balls rather than just bowling yorkers because bowling length was the key. With the shortest boundaries on the straight, I kind of mixed things.”
Hardik said every game teaches him a new cricketing lesson. “I am learning. I am always learning in the game. I’ve made sure that I keep on learning from my mistakes. With every game, something or the other I am learning, which is helping my game.”
Hardik was full of praise for the back-room staff, who according to him are responsible for the upward graph of the current Indian team.
“We have a fantastic staff and leaders who are giving us immense confidence to go and express ourselves.
“We are just enjoying our game rather than think about what’s going to happen. We’re just playing our best cricket and eventually when you do that, you end up doing well,” he said.
Meanwhile, England captain Eoin Morgan said his side was 20-30 runs short and blamed the death-overs’ batting collapse for the score, which wasn’t enough despite being steep.
“We were probably 20-30 runs short. 225 or 235 would have been more of a difficult chase (on that ground).
“India never really got away from us, but we struggled to take wickets (during the chase),” said Morgan.
“They kept up with the rate, and then it was a position in the 16th or 17th over they could take the game away from us which is disappointing.
“(But) Jason (Roy) and Jos (Buttler) were brilliant up front and almost gave us a licence to allow ourselves to think about 220,” he added.
“This series has been pretty competitive, probably barring the first game, which they (India) dominated.
“It doesn’t necessarily expose us in one area, but it allows us to grow as a team. I don’t think we have to play a completely perfect game every time. We proved that at Cardiff.”
Morgan said there were key things to learn from the game which England would take into the three-match ODI series starting on July 12.
To be honest, I see the T20 format as a funny game. You need to back yourself and bowl your best balls