Hardik Pandya had last bowled in a competitive game during the T20 World Cup when India took on Afghanistan. In the IPL, the Gujarat Titans captain last played as an all-rounder in the 2019 finals. However, the 28-year-old answered all doubts around his bowling when he delivered a full quota of four overs against the Lucknow Super Giants on Monday. He gave away 37 runs. 

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Pandya’s first delivery in five months was a 139.5 kmph delivery  fullish outside off-stump. It was defended by Lucknow’s Ayush Badoni. The Gujarat captain kept clocking close to 140 kmph. 

Looking at Pandya bowl, social media users reacted immediately. 

“Hardik Pandya clocked the highest of 139.5kmph in his opening over in IPL 2022. Great to see him bowling and hopefully he continues to do so,” a social media user said. 

“Hardik Pandya giving glimpses of his vintage self in bowling. Good signs for us,” another one said. 

“He has to prove as an all-rounder during this tournament to open the doors for national team,” a third one added. 

After electing to bowl first, Gujarat’s Mohammed Shami rattled Lucknow’s top-order. The pacer took three quick wickets to reduce the opponents to 29-4. However, youngster Ayush Badoni and Deepak Hooda then stitched an 87-run stand to rescue KL Rahul and compant. The former scored a fifty on IPL debut and the latter made 55 runs in 41 balls. 

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Pandya rolled his arm in the seventh over. 

Coming into the tournament, Pandya had bowled 16 overs across three ODIs and a T20I on India’s tour of Sri Lanka in July last year. He did not bowl for the Mumbai Indians in the 2020 season. Against Afghanistan in the T20 World Cup, Pandya gave 23 runs in his two overs. 

Pandya fell from Grade A to Grade C in the BCCI central contracts system announced earlier this month.

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Teams: Gujarat Titans: Shubman Gill, Matthew Wade, Vijay Shankar, Abhinav Manohar, Hardik Pandya (c), David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Lockie Ferguson, Varun Aaron, Mohammed Shami.

Lucknow Super Giants: KL Rahul (c), Quinton de Kock, Evin Lewis, Manish Pandey, Deepak Hooda, Krunal Pandya, Mohsin Khan, Ayush Badoni, Dushmantha Chameera, Ravi Bishnoi, Avesh Khan.