Hardik Pandya set the IPL on fire with a hat-trick of sixes against Ashok Dinda in the final over of Mumbai Indians’ IPL opener against the Rising Pune Supergiants at Pune. The Indian all-rounder, renowned for his hard-hitting abilities, proved his calibre with a carnage in the final over that soared Mumbai's total to 185.
Watch Pandya's carnage in the final over here
Pandya walked in with Mumbai in a rut at 125/6 with the 16th over in progress. He played second fiddle to a rampant Kieron Pollard but found his timing in that passage of play. Pandya was on seven off nine balls going into the final over of the innings.
Ashok Dinda, infamous for his length deliveries in the back-end of the innings was asked to take on the pressure job by Steven Smith and here is what unfolded.
Over 19.1 - Six
An attempted yorker turns into a low full toss outside off-stump from Dinda. It is duly carved over point and into the crowd by Hardik Pandya, who registered his first six of the match
Over 19.2 - Six
That notorious length ball from Dinda lands in Pandya's zone and is deposited over long-off with ease. Second consecutive six for Pandya and the third consecutive one for Mumbai Indians.
Over 19.3 - Six
Another yorker gone wrong from the veteran Bengal pace bowler. Pandya smokes the low full toss over long-on for a hat-trick of sixes in the over.
(MS Dhoni and Steven Smith look really worried and the latter is already living a nightmare in his first match as Pune skipper)
Over 19.4 - Four
Another full ball that lands in the good length area from Dinda. Luckily, Pandya only manages to edge the powerful slog. But wait, it has raced past the keeper to the third man fence. Four more! 22 off the first four balls of the last over.
Over 19.5 - Six
A back of the length delivery that sits up for Pandya to belt over long-on off the back foot. 28 off the over.
Over 19.6 - wide
Absolute mayhem as Dinda bowls a wide and Southee runs for his life to the striker's end. Pandya does not move and rightly so. Southee is given out by the third umpire after a series of replays.
Over 19.6 - 1 bye
Another loose full toss from Dinda but Pandya connects with only thin air this time. The batsmen run and grab a single even as MS Dhoni showcases some throwing skills at the striker's end.
Mumbai Indians had looked like they were caught in no man's land at 125/6. Hardik Pandya made the step up in an extraordinary final over and turned what looked like an ordinary total into a huge one.
From 154/7 in 19 overs, Pandya took Mumbai to 184 with 30 runs coming in the final over from Ashok Dinda. The incredible hitting from the Indian all-rounder might have taken Mumbai from a sub-par total to a competitive one but it still wasn't good to trump Steven Smith's heroics.
Pandya will, however, take a lot of confidence from this blitz. The all-rounder is pushing for a slot in the Indian Champions Trophy squad after an injury lay-off and needs a good IPL to get the selector's nod. Not a bad way at all to start proceedings.