India lost the first T20I after a below-par bowling display. Batting first, Rishabh Pant-led side managed to pile up 211/4. Ishan Kishan gave the perfect start to Men in Blue with his blistering 76 off 48 balls. Hardik Pandya played a cameo, scoring an unbeaten 31, laced with three sixes and 2 fours. However, South Africa thumped the hosts by 7 wickets.
Hardik and Dinesh Karthik were recalled to the side after their sensational performances in IPL 2022. However, one incident involving these two left the fans fuming at Pandya.
It was the final over of the Indian innings. Karthik had just arrived at the crease while Pandya was striking at a rate of over 200. It was the 5th delivery when Pandya hit the ball towards deep mid-wicket but refused to take a single.
This incident left the fans unimpressed, and they trolled Pandya for treating Karthik as a tailender. Many pointed out that Karthik won the Super Striker of the Tournament award in the recently concluded IPL. And how could Pandya refuse to give a strike to a batsman of his calibre? The internet felt it was a sign of disrespect towards Karthik, and an unnecessary dot ball at that stage was beyond their understanding.
Gujarat Titans Head Coach Ashish Nehra criticised Pandya’s decision and said, “He should have taken the single”.
In the end, Pandya’s overconfidence didn’t pay off, as he managed just two runs off the final delivery.