Emotional India’s star all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who was in tears after Men in Blue sealed T20 World Cup glory, opened up on the challenging six months leading up to the marquee event and said that he had kept quiet not speaking a word. Speaking to the broadcaster after the game, Pandya reflected on the previous six months and revealed that he had not lost his temper once when things were going wrong, which was precisely why the victory felt all the more meaningful. Mumbai Indians (MI) supporters and social media trolls had been very harsh to Pandya during the Indian Premier League 2024.

MI brought back Pandya after a two-year stint with Gujarat Titans (GT), which involved winning the title in their debut season in 2022, but replacing Rohit Sharma as a captain led to massive social media backlash for the all-rounder and franchise. Pandya was booed in stadiums all over India during the matches

Pandya said that India were calm throughout the game and always believed that they could win. Despite being trolled mercilessly during the Indian Premier League, on a personal and professional level, he produced what may have been the World Cup-winning moment when he removed Heinrich Klaasen.

“It means a lot. Very emotional, we’d been working very hard and something was not clicking. But today we got what the whole nation wanted. More special for me, how my last 6 months were, I haven’t spoken a word, things have been unfair. I knew that if I kept working hard I could shine and do what I could do. Getting an opportunity like this makes it more special. We always believed it was just about executing our plans and staying calm and letting the pressure come to them,” Pandya said in a post-match presentation.

“I believe in grace. A lot was said by people who don’t know even know me one percent as a person. People have spoken, no issues but I have always believed in life that you never respond with words, circumstances can respond.

“It is time for fans and everyone else to learn that (to be graceful). We need to find better ways to conduct yourself. I am sure the same people will be happy,” Hardik further said in a chat with the broadcaster.

“To be honest, I was enjoying. Very few get these life changing opportunities. It could have gone the other way as well today but I see it glass half full and not glass half empty.

“I was not taking pressure and focussing on my skill sets. This was a moment written in the stars,” he said when asked about the high pressure scenario.

As the pressure started to build, India pulled their way back into the game in the final over with Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah combined to pull off a superb back-end effort which helped India win the game by 7 runs. Bumrah was named Player of the Tournament for his outstanding 15 wickets.

“Credit to Jassi (Bumrah) and the other bowlers for those last 5 overs. Knew it would not help me if I wasn’t calm, wanted to commit 100% to every ball I’ve bowled. I’ve always enjoyed the pressure. Very happy for him,” Pandya said.

The all-round player expressed his happiness for the departing head coach Rahul Dravid.

“He’s been a wonderful man, really enjoyed working with him, to give him a farewell like this is wonderful, have had a very good relationship with him and became friends. Very happy for all the support staff,” he added.

The stadium had an electrifying atmosphere. Drenched with excitement, the Indian players poured onto the pitch to join in on the festivities as the dugout emptied. A loud cacophony rippled throughout the stadium as the audience let forth their roars. Meanwhile, for South Africa, it was another heartbreak.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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