Watch: Hardik's wife Natasha shell-shocked after his hit-wicket costs 4 runs – Hindustan Times

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Just like all the Indian batters in the T20 World Cup semi-final against England on Thursday, Hardik Pandya too started rather slowly, in Michaele Vaughan’s words, a pedestrian approach, but by the time he finished, he was nothing short of astonishing like a mountaineer. Even till the 16th over of the Indian innings, 150 appeared to be a bit of a stretch for the Men in Blue considering the ball was not coming off the middle of the bat from either Virat Kohli or Hardik but they ended up scoring 58 in the last four overs to end up with a competitive total of 168 for 6, all thanks to some scintillating strokeplay from Hardik Pandya.
And if Hardik Pandya hadn’t stepped onto his stumps in the last ball, India would have got four more runs. Yes, Hardik’s potentially match-changing innings, came to a rather anticlimactic end when the India all-rounder’s backfoot touched the stumps after he had once again nailed a wristy flick shot that raced away to the boundary in the last ball of India’s innings.
It was a length ball from Chris Jordan. Hardik went deep in his crease to access the square boundary, and made a good connection but just failed to control his weight and trod on the stumps.
Hardik was obviously disappointed for missing out on four more crucial reasons but his wife Natasha Stankovic, who was in the Adelaide Oval stands, was heartbroken. The Bollywood actress, who was seen praying while Hardik was going all guns blazing, could not believe her eyes after her husband was hit-wicket.
Hardik finished with 63 off 33 balls that included four fours and five sixes, targeting the short square boundaries. When Hardik came out to bat at the fall of the all-important wicket of Suryakumar Yadav, it surprised many as the popular thing would have been to send the left-hander Rishabh Pant in the middle to counter the England leg-spinners Adil Rashid and Liam Livingstone.
The right-hander struggled in the initial period, scoring only 13 off his first 15 balls but turned the tables against the seamers in the last five overs by scoring 50 off his next 18 deliveries.
Apart from Hardik, Virat Kohli too played his part by scoring 50 off 40 deliveries. He also became the first cricketer to get to 4000 T20I runs. Despite the grand finish, India would not be entirely happy with the total purely because of the batting conditions on offer. Yes, the ball gripped and turned a bit for the leg-spinners but a little more impetuous in the first 10 overs, would have put them on course to a 180-plus score.
But if India scored at least 20 runs less, blame it on skipper Rohit Sharma (27 off 28 balls) and the first 10 overs that yielded only 62 runs. In a semifinal, consuming 42 dot balls (effectively 7 maiden overs) doesn’t paint a pretty picture.
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