Sunil Gavaskar praised the partnership between Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya during India’s clash against Pakistan on Saturday, September 2.
The duo managed to create a record-breaking partnership of 138 runs for India against Pakistan at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Pallekele. This partnership is considered the highest for the fifth-wicket or lower order for India.
The match started off on a rocky note for India, with key players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, and Shubman Gill losing their wickets early in the game. However, Kishan and Pandya displayed remarkable composure and resilience, guiding India back to stability. Their partnership lasted for 141 balls, combining controlled aggression with calculated risks, which kept the scoreboard ticking while capitalizing on loose deliveries.
Kishan, known for his aggressive strokeplay, scored 82 off 81 balls, featuring nine fours and two sixes, displaying an impressive strike rate of 101.23.
On the other hand, Hardik Pandya, achieved a total of 87 runs from 90 balls at the strike rate of 96.67, hitting seven boundaries and one six. This partnership surpassed the previous record set by Rahul Dravid and Mohammed Kaif back in 2005 at Nagpur, where they forged a 135-run partnership.
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Gavaskar, while talking to India Today, first praised Kishan for his knock and said that the wicketkeeper showed that openers can bat in the middle-order. The Indian legend said that without the partnership, India would have been well short of the 266 they put on the board in the end.
“Yes, I think what he showed was that an opening batter can bat anywhere down the order. It’s not easy the other way around, where a middle order batter can come in and open the batting. It’s not easy, but an opening batter can be accommodated anywhere down the order, and he brings a left-handed dimension to the Indian batting line. If you could look at the top four, they’re all right and then the left hander comes in, so it makes it a little bit difficult for the bowlers. “
“Plus, he’s got this great ability to accelerate. He looks very, very small, but he packs a punch. He hit a couple of big sixes and the way he batted really was impressive because generally he likes to get after the bowling. But he was watchful when it was needed, recognized, realised what the situation was.”
“There was, of course, Hardik Pandya at the other end who captained the Gujarat Titans. So he knows exactly you know what situation, how to adjust his game and he was guiding him. So that was a very, very good partnership. Without that partnership, India would have 175 or 200,” said Gavaskar.
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Kishan was dismissed while trying to play a rash shot but Gavaskar said he wouldn’t be harsh on the Indian batter and would rather pat him on the back.
“Yes. I mean, you can you can, you know, if you want to nitpick, you can do that. But, you know, you’ve got to give credit to the young man for coming in a crisis situation and scoring 82 runs and having that partnership. I think if he was discomforted by some injury, it is only natural for him to know to think that because he cannot run fast between the wickets, he should be looking for the boundary. So that’s totally understandable at all. So I wouldn’t point a finger at him at all. I would just pat him on the back and say, Well done to the young man,” said Gavaskar.
Gavaskar also had praise reserved for Hardik and the way he guided Kishan through the partnership.
“Absolutely incredible. Yes, I think again no praise can be too high for the way he shepherded Ishan Kishan through that partnership. And of course, scoring runs himself hitting the boundaries, picking the ones and twos. And he showed that, you know, in a crisis situation to rise to the occasion, that was terrific innings,” said Gavaskar.