Sport

Kohli hails Pandya after series-clinching win

Monday, September 25, 2017

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INDORE, India (AFP) — Skipper Virat Kohli said yesterday Hardik Pandya is a “great asset” to Indian cricket after the all-rounder steered the hosts to a series-clinching five-wicket win over Australia in Indore.

Pandya's 72-ball 78 and his crucial fifth-wicket stand with Manish Pandey, who remained unbeaten on 36, helped the hosts chase down their 294-run target with 13 balls to spare.

Openers Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane put together a 139-run partnership to lay a solid foundation for the team to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

But it was Pandya who showed maturity after being promoted to number four in the batting order as he put on 78 runs with Pandey, who scored the winning runs.

“Rohit and Rahane were very good, and then Hardik Pandya — only he can do what he does when he bats like that. He (Pandya) is a star,” a delighted Kohli said after the win.

“He possesses ability with the bat, ball and in the field as well. We have been wanting a guy like that for the past five, six years.

“A really explosive all-rounder is what we were missing and he's giving us that balance. A great asset for Indian cricket and I wish him all the best for the future,” he added.

It was also the Indian bowlers who set up the comfortable victory after opener Aaron Finch's blazing century, restricting the visitors to 293-6 at the batting-friendly Holkar Stadium.

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