Former Pakistan skipper Inzamam-Ul-Haq is of the opinion that Hardik Pandya should have been awarded the 'Man of the Match' instead of Suryakumar Yadav in India's 8-run win over England in the 4th T20I.
In what was a must-win match for India if they were to square the series 2-2, Suryakumar's enterprising 31-ball 57 in his debut international innings was crucial in propelling Virat Kohli's men to a winning total of 185-8.
However, Inzamam felt it was Pandya's economical spell of bowling which really made the difference in a high-scoring contest between the two sides.
"The one performance that changed the course of the match, the turning point of the match I feel was the way Hardik Pandya bowled. The difference of eight runs could not have been due to Suryakumar’s fifty or Pant’s 30. Giving 16 runs in four overs and taking two wickets, that is the performance which shifted the match towards India," said Inzamam on his Youtube channel.
Given the responsibility of opening the bowling by captain Kohli, Hardik was on the money from the word go and gave away just 5 runs in his first two overs to keep the attacking English batters in check. Pandya's slower bouncers proved mighty effective even as the due made it difficult for the bowlers to grip the ball.
With Jason Roy well set on 40 (27 balls) and threatening to take the game away from India, Hardik came back to dismiss the English opener in the 9th over before accounting for Sam Curran in the crucial 18th over. He eventually finished with figures of 2 for 16 off his four overs, the most economical bowler from both sides.
Showering praise on India's highly-rated allrounder, Inzamam added that according to him, Pandya was a better pick for the Man of the Match award.
"Where India won and where England lost were those four overs from Pandya which created a difference. For me, he would have been my Player of the Match. When he bowls he appears a bowling all-rounder and when he’s batting, he appears a batting all-rounder."
Emergence of youngsters will help Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma play freely: Inzamam-Ul-Haq
While admitting that Kohli and Rohit Sharma are the two pillars of the team, Inzamam said that the contribution by young batsmen in the 4th T20I against England will allow the pair to play more freely.
"Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are the two players who are the pillars of this Indian team’s batting. Neither could score well and yet the team managed to score 185. Suryakumar Yadav scored a fifty, while Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer also provided impactful performances.
"The way they batted and scored runs, they kept the contributions coming. This type of batting will help Rohit and Kohli to also play freely at the top of the order without worrying about the middle or lower order," finished Inzamam.