Pandya smashed an unbeaten 87 off 52 deliveries to help the Titans set a 193-run target for the Royals. The all-rounder also played his part with the ball and on the field as the Ahmedabad-based franchise registered a 37-run win to move atop the standings with eight points from five matches.
While reviewing the GT-RR clash in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra lauded Pandya for playing an uncustomary knock, saying:
"Gujarat was 15/2, they were stuck. Hardik Pandya was not known for this, he was known for being an excellent finisher, for batting explosively but to take the team from 15/2 to 190 - well done."
The cricketer-turned-commentator pointed out that the Gujarat Titans skipper paced his innings immaculately. Chopra explained:
"Matthew Wade got run out and Vijay Shankar was dismissed off a boundary ball and it seemed there is no escape route. Then Shubman Gill also got out. Now you are gone because what is the batting in your team. There Hardik first played cautiously and then runs at a fast pace, he nearly scored at a strike rate of 170 in the end, was unbeaten till the end as well."
Pandya clubbed eight fours and four sixes during his innings. His first 42 runs came off 30 deliveries and the next 45 off just 22 balls.
"Everyone was worried about the strike rate" - Aakash Chopra on Hardik Pandya answering his fans' calls
Aakash Chopra added that Hardik Pandya ended his fans' wait for an explosive knock from his willow. He elaborated:
"It was being asked when the Hardik named storm will come. Everyone was worried about the strike rate. He said forget the worry because Hardik came and shone. There is no one like him boss. He has a partnership in the middle with Abhinav Manohar and then with David Miller and in the last few overs, he laid them threadbare."
The 44-year-old highlighted that Pandya also made a telling impact in the match with his bowling and fielding. Chopra stated:
"After that, run out with a direct hit, one more dimension. Then picking up Jimmy Neesham's wicket - 3D proper player. Whenever there was pressure or problems, Hardik Pandya was there - with the bat, with the ball, in the field."
Aakash Chopra, however, was slightly concerned about Pandya leaving the field with a suspected injury. The reputed commentator reckons the Gujarat Titans skipper might not be seen bowling in the next few matches.
Q. Will Hardik Pandya score another fifty in Gujarat Titans' next match?
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