As India takes the field against arch-rivals Pakistan in their Super Four stage of the Asia Cup for a Sunday blockbuster, all eyes will be on Hardik Pandya, who has, over the years, established himself as a premier all-rounder in limited overs cricket while demonstrating the ability and confidence to do well against big opponents at big stages.
The traditional rivals will go at each other in what promises to be an enthralling Super Four clash in Colombo on Sunday.
Hardik loves playing against Pakistan and the numbers prove it. In five ODIs against Pakistan, he has scored 209 runs at an average of 69.66 and a strike rate of over 132. He has two half-centuries against the Men in Green, with the best score of 87. He also has five wickets against Pakistan in ODIs at an average of 32.80 and best bowling figures of 2/43.
His overall white-ball numbers against Pakistan are just as good as ODIs. In 11 matches against Pakistan, Pandya has scored 293 runs at an average of 41.85 in nine innings at a strike rate of over 130. He has slammed two half-centuries against Pakistan, with the best score of 87. In these 11 matches, he has taken 16 wickets at an average of 18.50, with the best bowling figures of 3/8.
Some of Pandya’s most spectacular career performances have come against Pakistan. Here is a look at some of these:
-76 off 43 balls (with four boundaries and six sixes) against Pakistan during a chase of 339 runs in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, which India lost.
-3/8 in Asia Cup 2016 that helped bundle out Pakistan for just 84 runs.
-All-round performance of 33* in 17 balls, consisting of four boundaries and six, 3/25 in Asia Cup 2022
-40 off 37 balls, with one four and two sixes and 3/30 in ICC T20 World Cup 2022. Pandya had a match-winning century stand with Virat Kohli after India sunk to 31/4 in a 160-run chase.
Pandya is India’s man for the big stages and big opponents and has a history of fine performances against some of India’s biggest rivals, not only Pakistan but also South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia, which collectively form the SENA nations, the countries against which India has a historically weak record.
-Against Australia: In 12 ODIs against Australia, he has scored 546 runs at an average of 54.60, with four half-centuries in 11 innings and a best score of 92. He has also taken 11 wickets in these 12 matches, with the best figures of 3/44.
In 24 matches against them overall, he has scored 754 runs at an average of 53.85, with five half-centuries in 18 innings and a strike rate of over 122. He has also taken 17 wickets against Australia in 24 matches, with the best figures of 3/44.
-Against England: He has played 13 ODIs against England, scoring 402 runs at an average of 44.66, with three fifties in 11 innings and best score of 71. He has taken 12 wickets against England, with the best figures of 4/24.
Overall, he has played 33 matches against England, scoring 845 runs at an average of 33.80 and SR of 104.83, with six fifties in 31 innings. He has also taken 36 wickets against England across all formats, with the best performance of 6/50.
His records against South Africa and New Zealand are a little average compared to stats against Australia, Pakistan and England, but still decent for an all-rounder who often serves as a hard-hitting finisher.
-Against New Zealand: He has played 14 ODIs against New Zealand, scoring 274 runs in 10 innings, with the best score of 54 and one fifty. He has taken 15 wickets in these 14 matches, with the best figures of 3/31.
Overall, across all formats, he has scored 447 runs against NZ at an average of 23.52 in 27 matches, with one half-century and an SR of above 104. He has also taken 24 wickets against the Kiwis, with the best figures of 4/16.
-Against South Africa: His performances against South Africa, a mere 41 runs in five innings with the best of 15* and five wickets, with the best figures of 2/30 serve as a tiny blip on his resume as an absolute clutch player.
Overall in 22 matches against the Proteas, he has scored 327 runs at an average of 23.35, with one half-century in 19 innings and the best score of 93. He has also taken 14 wickets against South Africa, with the best figures of 3/80.
In the 2020s, Pandya made significant changes to his batting technique. Serving as the captain of IPL-winning Gujarat Titans has helped him retain the intensity he had as a finisher, but also, gain new maturity and composure similar to an anchor player. He still shows flashes of the big-hitting, free-flowing Pandya of old but has brought an element of reliability and hunger to his game.
Since 2020, he has scored 796 runs in 25 ODI matches and 21 innings at an average of 41.89, with seven half-centuries and best score of 92. He has also taken 20 wickets in these matches, with the best figures of 4/24.
In 52 T20I matches and 46 innings since 2020, Pandya has scored 1,038 runs at an average of 30.52, with three half-centuries. He has also taken 35 wickets, with the best figures of 4/16.