During the pitch report ahead of the Ahmedabad T20I, it was stated that the surface was one on which teams would prefer chasing. However, Pandya won the toss and decided to bat first. The team vindicated his decision, putting up a massive 234/4 on the board. Opener Shubman Gill cracked his maiden T20I ton, hammering 126 off only 63 balls, slamming 12 fours and seven sixes.
Rahul Tripathi contributed 44 off 22, while Pandya himself chipped in with 30 off 17, adding 103 for the fourth wicket with Gill. In their defence of the total, Pandya stood out with 4/16, while Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik and Shivam Mavi all claimed two wickets each.
Speaking after winning the Player of the Series, Pandya commented, “I don't mind winning (man of the series award), but there were so performances here that were exceptional. This Man of the Series and trophy goes out to the whole support staff, I'm happy for all of them.”
On always wanting to think out of the box as captain, the all-rounder explained, “No, to be honest, I always play the game like this. I try to read what is required, not have preconceived ideas. In my captaincy, I look to keep it simple and back my gut. I have a simple rule - if I go down, I will go down on my terms.”
Under Hardik, India had earlier beaten Sri Lanka as well in the T20I series. However, there was pressure in the decider as the Men in Blue were unconvincing in Lucknow, scraping home in the end. Pandya elaborated, “We've spoken about taking challenges. When we played the IPL final, we felt the second innings was more spicy but on this surface today I wanted to make it a normal game because it was a decider. Hence, we batted first. Hopefully, we can continue performing like this.”
With the white-ball games done, India will now face Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test series, which starts on February 9 in Nagpur.
--By A Cricket Correspondent