After India's breathtaking five-wicket win in the ODI series decider, Rohit Sharma heaped praise on Hardik Pandya because of his bowling tactics against England in Mancheste. The star Indian all-rounder returned his career-best ODI figures of 4-24 before scoring a 55-ball 71 on Sunday.
At Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester on Sunday, India crushed England in the ODI series decider with an incredible five-wicket victory. After coming to chase down a stiff target of 260, the Men in Blue were reduced to 72/4 at one point, with their top four -- Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, and Suryakumar Yadav -- returning to the pavilion.
Then the turnaround began with a superb partnership between Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya as the duo added 133 runs for the fifth wicket to take their side on the cusp of a famous win. Hardik, after returning his best ODI figures of 7-3-24-4, scored 71 of just 55 balls, while Pant remained till the end to finish things off with an audacious reverse-sweep in the 43rd over. The swashbuckling wicket-keeper was not out on 125 off 113 balls, with 16 fours and two sixes. Notably, it was his first-ever ODI hundred.
Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, Rohit Sharma seemed pleased with his side's overall performance after he led India to win back-to-back limited-overs series against Jos Buttler's England. The Indian skipper also highlighted how Pant and Hardik held their nerves to steady the ship, and how the latter brought the ground's dimensions into play while bowling.
"Very pleased (with the win). We came here and wanted to achieve something as a group in white-ball, and we did. Moving forward there are things we need to improve but pleased with the effort. We were here last time and we were beaten I remember. It is not an easy place to come and win games but the way we played the entire white-ball leg was fantastic. Wanted to do it for a long period of time, to achieve it was brilliant (Today's game)," Rohit said at the post-match presentation.
"It was a good pitch, but we knew it won't be easy if we lost wickets early. It happened, but the positive is that these guys haven't batted a long period in the middle overs and we got to see that from Rishabh and Hardik. Both of them were clinical - at no point did we feel they were panicking.
Hardik as well, used the dimension well while bowling. One side was long and used the bouncers well."
India will next play under Shikhar Dhawan's captaincy in West Indies from July 22 for a three-match ODI series. After that, Rohit will return as captain for a five-match T20I series in the Caribbean.