When New Zealand fielders were struggling to hold onto the ball, dropping as many as four catches, Pandya showed exactly how crucial a catch could be in terms of the outcome of the match.
Standing at a wider than usual long off, Pandya knew Martin Guptill would look to go aerial to put Yuzvendra Chahal off his length. After all, New Zealand were chasing 203 and needed a brisk start from one of their most experienced limited overs players.
It took Guptill only three deliveries to go for the lofted shot but he could not connect as well as he would have liked to. Pandya started the sprint as soon the ball left Guptill’s bat. After running for a good 30 meters, Pandya flew to his right and somehow managed to hold onto the ball inches off the ground.
Hardik Pandya sensation catch | India vs New Zealand 1st t20 pic.twitter.com/YeBcwSANoI
— Cricket Reality (@cricket_reality) November 2, 2017
New Zealand lost its first wicket with only six on board and there innings never took flight afterwards as they could only manage 149 in 20 overs to slump to their first ever T20 defeat to India by 53 runs.
Pandya, who was out for a duck, more than made up for his lapses with bat through this wonderful catch that caught the imagination of Mohammad Kaif, who himself took a similar catch against Pakistan at Karachi in 2004.
“That was a blinder from Hardik Pandya. Running with a full length dive and having control over the ball. Top top effort,’ tweeted Kaif.
That was a blinder from Hardik Pandya. Running with a full length dive and having control over the ball. Top top effort.#indvsnzt20
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) November 1, 2017
Pandya also picked up the wicket of New Zealand captain Kane Williamson for 28.