Pandya breaks into top five in ICC rankings for T20I

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Hardik Pandya’s all-round performance in India’s opening game of the 2022 Asia Cup has helped him jump eight places on the T20I allrounder’s rankings to a career-best fifth position.

Hardik was instrumental in India’s five-wicket victory against Pakistan in Dubai on Sunday. Hitting the hard lengths consistently, Hardik picked up 3 for 25 in his four overs to help India dismiss Pakistan for 147 in 19.5 overs. He then shepherded a tricky chase, smashing an unbeaten 33 off 17 balls to take India over the line with two balls to spare.

Hardik has had a successful year with both bat and ball. He led Gujarat Titans to the title in their maiden season in the IPL, and he’s taken his all-round form into international cricket as well.

Since the end of IPL 2022, Hardik has played 14 T20Is, scoring 314 runs at an average of 34.88 and taking 11 wickets with best figures of 4 for 33 against England. He also captained India in three T20Is – two against Ireland and one against West Indies – and won all three matches.

“In bowling, my plans were pretty simple,” Hardik told Star Sports after the India-Pakistan clash. “I always tell the same thing. It’s just how I use it. I tell that it’s important to kind of assess the situation and conditions, and use your weapon which I feel, you know, hard lengths and hitting the length is my strength. But I make sure I use it very wisely, put some doubt in the batter and ask them to play the wrong shot.”

About his batting form, Hardik said, “In batting, over the years, I have understood [that] the calmer I can stay, it’s going to help me execute all the plans. Those executions, the 50-50 chances that I take, if I am calmer, it helps me to pull it off. Chases like this, you always plan overs.”

There were gains for Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman in the T20I rankings for bowlers after Afghanistan became the first team to qualify for the Super 4 stage of the Asia Cup. Rashid’s 3 for 22 against Bangladesh helped him jump two spots over fellow wristspinners Adil Rashid and Adam Zampa on the list of T20I bowlers. He is now No. 3 with only Tabraiz Shamsi and Josh Hazlewood ahead of him.

Mujeeb is ranked ninth – having moved up seven places – after taking five wickets in the first two games at the Asia Cup.

In the Test rankings, Ben Stokes’ efforts in England’s win over South Africa in Manchester, saw him move up in all three rankings list. He is now 18th in the Test rankings for batters, 38th among bowlers, and second among allrounders.