India legend Sunil Gavaskar hailed Hardik Pandya and Ambati Rayudu after the two played stellar roles in helping India recuperate from 18 for 4 and lift them to challenging total. Yuzvendra Chahal and Mohammed Shami then combined to ensure India defended the challenging total.
Impressed with Pandya's 22-ball 45, Gavaskar termed it a calculated assault. Pandya added 74 for the sixth wicket with Kedar Jadhav. After slamming leg-spinner Todd Astle for three consecutive sixes in the 47th over, he got crucial boundaries off Matt Henry and Trent Boult as well.
"There was no desperate hitting today at all. It was a calculated assault. It was magnificent to watch, it was delightful to watch. He, with those hits, apart from the runs that have been added also lifts the mood in the dressing room. He has got those 40-50 extra runs," Gavaskar told Star Sports according to an India Today report.
Asked whether Pandya can be promoted up the order, Gavaskar felt, "Yes, this is exactly what the Indian team wants from him. That is the reason, he was held back and Vijay Shankar and Kedar Jadhav were sent ahead. But sometimes, why not give him a few more overs?
"Instead of the last 10 overs, if he gets to bat may 15 overs, those extra five overs could mean another 25 or even 45 runs," the commentator opined.
Further, praising Rayudu Gavaskar said that Rayudu learnt from his mistakes at Hamilton when he gave his wicket away. "There were questions being asked after he got out in the previous game. The situation was similar and he had looked to play the aggressive game and got out. He has learnt from that," Gavaskar said.
He added, "Today the first 20 deliveries, he scored only one run and then another 11 odd runs in the next 20 deliveries because that was the time the New Zealand bowling was at its top.
"When the innings started to stabilise, he opened his shoulders and upped the ante. Unlucky to have missed out on the hundred," admitted Gavaskar.
Rayudu and Vijay Shankar added 98 after India lost 4 for 18.
-By A Cricket Correspondent