Hardik Pandya has made a strong comeback post his controversial talk show with Karan Johar. He impressed in the ODI series against New Zealand, which India won by a 4-1 margin. In the fifth ODI at Wellington, Pandya slammed a match-winning cameo of 45 off 22 balls with 5 sixes and 2 fours to take India to a match-winning total of 252.
During this cameo, Hardik Pandya walked into record books to score a hat-trick of sixes five times in ODIs. And all these hat-tricks have come in the last two years.
Cricwizz looks at the five instances when Hardik Pandya has slammed hat-trick of sixes or 666 in ODIs.
India vs Pak, Champions Trophy, at Birmingham in June 2017
Hardik Pandya came out to bat with just 10 balls left in India’s innings. He got into the act from the second ball itself. Hardik slammed the first ball he faced from Imad Wasim over long over. Wasim bowled a bit wider but fuller the second time. But Hardik got underneath the ball and slammed it for a flat six over wide long off. The third ball from Wasim was slightly shorter, but Hardik was in murderous mood and he slog swept it over deep mid-wicket. He scored 6-ball 20* as India posted a match-winning total of 319/3. India won the match by 124 runs via D/L method.
India vs Pakistan, Champions Trophy final, The Oval, June 2017
Just days later, Pandya repeated his Birmingham heroics in the same tournament, but in the final at the Oval. India were down and out chasing 339 for a title. They were reduced to 72/6 and it seemed India will surrender meekly. But Hardik Pandya played a brilliant counter-attacking knock of 76 to delay the inevitable.
He threw caution to the wind and went on to butcher the Pakistan bowling line-up with his big hits. He took a liking for Shadab Khan’s bowling. He slammed the first three balls from Shadab’s sixth over into the stands among the disappearing Indian fans.
It was slog hitting and brute power at its best. Pandya raced to his fifty off 32 balls. A run-out derailed his entertaining knock and with it India’s hopes in the final. Pandya scored 73 off 46 balls with 4 fours and 6 sixes. Shadab went for 60 in 7 overs.
India vs Sri Lanka, Kandy Test, in August 2017
Pandya was losing out on partners as India looked to make a big score in the first innings. He was batting on 38 when he lost Kuldeep Yadav at 401/8. Pandya then went for the kill. He stitched a stand of 86 runs with the last two wickets. The last two wickets contributed just 11 runs in the stand.
Pandya spared no bowlers, but he was harsh on Pushpakumara. The Sri Lankan bowler had went for just 56 runs in his 22 overs before the onslaught began. Hardik Pandya has already slammed two fours off Pushpakumara’s first two balls. But that was not enough, Pandya walked down the track on the next three deliveries to hoist it over long on and off thrice.
Pandya took 26 runs in the over and raced to 87. Pushpakumara’s figures became 82 runs in 23 overs after the onslaught.
Pandya duly completed his maiden Test ton and fell for 108. India scored 487 and won the match by an innings and 171 runs.
India vs Australia, Ist ODI at Chennai, in September 2017
India were reduced to 87/5 after a rare top-order failure. The lower-order rallied under MS Dhoni to steer India to 281/7. Pandya emerged the top-scorer with 83. In the 37th over of the innings, Haridk Pandya shifted gears and gave a nightmare to Adam Zampa.
Hardik Pandya slammed three consecutive sixes, and took 23 runs off 5 balls of that over. He swung hard and hoisted all the three balls over long on as Zampa looked on in bewilderment. Pandya spoiled Zampa’s figures from 28 runs in 7 overs to 52 runs in 8 overs. India won the match by 26 runs via D/L method.
India vs New Zealand, fifth ODI, Wellington, Feb 2019
Once again, India’s lower-order rallied to take India to a competitive score of 252. India were reduced to 4/18 before the lower-order came to the rescue. Pandya shifted momentum in the 46th over of India’s innings. India were looking at a score of around 230 but Pandya took it above 250.
In Todd Astle’s fifth over, Pandya played a dot first ball, but then smacked for three straight sixes. But Hardik Pandya went for the mid-wicket and extra-cover region for his spots, unlike his favourite long on and off.
The hits shifted the momentum in India’s favour. Astle who had conceded just 17 runs in 4 overs before Pandya’s onslaught, ending up with bowling figures of 0/35 in 5 overs. Pandya made 45 off 22 balls with 5 sixes and 2 fours.