Here’s one for the stats and trivia buffs. What do Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Malinda Pushpakumara, Adam Zampa and Todd Astle have in common?
They have all, at some point of their careers, looked helplessly over their shoulders after being smoked by Hardik Pandya for three consecutive sixes.
Playing his second game after returning from suspension for controversial comments made on a talk show, Pandya stroked a 22-ball 45, including two fours and five sixes. Before Sunday, Pandya had already hit a hat-trick of sixes on four different occasions, and in the 47th over of India’s innings in Wellington, Astle was next in the firing line.
Here’s how ESPNcricinfo’s ball-by-ball commentary recorded each of those big hits
New Zealand v India, 5th ODI, February 3, 2019, Wellington
46.2 Astle to Pandya, SIX, short on middle, and Pandya pounces on the opportunity to launch one over midwicket
46.3 Astle to Pandya, SIX, full outside off, goes inside out over extra cover, not only bisecting the boundary riders but clearing them comfortably
46.4 Astle to Pandya, SIX, that’s three in a row! Full on middle, right in his arc to pick it up over midwicket. A throwback to some of his hitting in the Champions Trophy
36.3 Zampa to Pandya, SIX, Pandya tees off! Tossed up on middle, Pandya loves the flight. He gets under it and hoists it down the ground. The ball soars over long-off. Whoa! That hit the roof
36.4 Zampa to Pandya, SIX, Bang! bang! bang! A hat-trick of boundaries. Pandya clears long-on and brings up his fifty off 48 balls. Floated up on middle, Pandya unleases the smoothest of swings and sends the ball over the boundary
36.5 Zampa to Pandya, SIX, Quicker and flatter on middle, it does not matter. Pandya still clears his front leg and clouts it straight of long-on who is in the deep now
115.3 Pushpakumara to Pandya, SIX, Flight on off, Pandya comes down and lofts that easily over long-off. Just clean striking. These are big runs in the context of the game
115.4 Pushpakumara to Pandya, SIX, The benefits of T20 cricket. India get to 450. Shimmies down and hammers a flat six to long-off. Flat and straight. Sensational striking. Pushpakumara going over the wicket doesn’t help
115.5 Pushpakumara to Pandya, SIX more. Where has this guy been in Test cricket. Comes down and blitzes this over long-on. Fantastic hitting technique this
22.1 Shadab Khan to Pandya, SIX runs, tossed up and fetched into the (rapidly emptying) stands! That’s a meaty blow, showing his power with a swing to cow corner
22.2 Shadab Khan to Pandya, SIX runs, in the slot and he clears the rope at long-on! Pandya is giving those India fans still hanging in there something to cheer about
22.3 Shadab Khan to Pandya, SIX runs, six more, that’s beastly hitting! The number of the devil brings up Pandya’s half-century from 32 balls. Need a few more of those to get India dreaming, though…
47.1 Imad Wasim to Pandya, SIX, Hardik starts it with a six. Full on off stump, he’s cleared his front leg and launched it high over long-off
47.2 Imad Wasim to Pandya, SIX, full again, but not full enough to deny elevation. Wider this time, and Hardik launches this over wide long-off, a more flat-batted hit on this occasion
47.3 Imad Wasim to Pandya, SIX, three in a row! This one’s pulled back slightly, and he’s bowled it slower, on off stump. Hardik uses that extra time to step across, go down on one knee, and slog-sweep over deep midwicket