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Kohli lauds 'game-changer' Pandya

1.01K   //    18 Sep 2017, 03:22 IST
Hardik Pandya - cropped
Hardik Pandya playing against Australia

Virat Kohli hailed Hardik Pandya's innings as a "game-changer" after a barrage of sixes from the all-rounder set India up for victory over Australia in the first one-day international.

Pandya dispatched Adam Zampa for three successive maximums on his way to top-scoring with 83 in the match in Chennai.

Together with MS Dhoni's 79, Pandya steered the hosts from 87-5 to 281-7 at MA Chidambaram Stadium.

A lengthy rain delay saw Australia's target reduced to 164 from 21 overs under the Duckworth-Lewis method.

And the tourists ultimately fell short to lose by 26 runs, due in no small part to two early wickets taken by the in-form Pandya.

"Hardik believes in himself, and his innings was the game-changer," Kohli said.

"He possesses all three skills equally and we are lucky to have him," the India skipper added, referring to the batting, bowling and fielding of the 23-year-old.

Pandya added: "It was a good day for me. I am the same Hardik I was a year back. Maybe people's thinking was changed."


Australia captain Steve Smith acknowledged his team, who only had three players reach double figures, were outclassed in the first contest of the five-match series. 

"MS and Hardik had a great, match-winning partnership," he said.

"The new ball was stopping and some skidded on. We lost too many wickets in the middle. You can't control the weather. 

"No complaints, we weren't good enough and we were outplayed by India. 

"I thought [Pat] Cummins and [Nathan] Coulter-Nile bowled very well with the new ball and hopefully they can back it up in a couple of days' time. 

"It was a tough wicket with the new ball, and then we went away from our plans too early."

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