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New Delhi, Apr 29: Hardik Pandya seems to have stolen MS Dhoni’s helicopter this season. And, Hardik is using this weapon with elan against opponents this season.

Using Dhoni’s trademark Helicopter Shots, Pandya blasted 34- ball 91 with 9 sixes against Mumbai on Sunday. In the process, he scored fastest 50 in IPL 2019–in 17 balls. He broke the record of Delhi’s Rishabh Pant, who had scored 18-ball fifty against Mumbai.

Of his 9 sixes, the most talked about is the one against KKR’s left-arm fast bowler Harry Gurney.  Gurney’s full-length ball landed around off stump, with a shuffle and using his wrists, Hardik articulated a perfect helicopter shot which sent the ball over the deep mid-wicket boundary.

Before Gurney, Pandya has used this shot against  Dwyane Bravo of Chennai and Delhi Capitals’ Kagiso Rabada.

After shot against Rabada, Pandya had revealed that even Dhoni liked his version of the helicopter shot.

“I never thought I would play the helicopter shot in a game. I’ve been practising that in the nets. I went to Dhoni’s room and asked him if he liked my version of the helicopter shot. He said it was good,” said Pandya.

His swashbuckling knock of 91 was his first 90 plus score in the IPL .

“I was just telling Krunal ‘damn I am close to a hundred’ that is something new for me,” said Hardik in the post-match presentation ceremony.

“The situation demanded to go all out and I was lucky enough everything was coming out, except the ball I got out. To be honest, with this kind of total you don’t think much, just go out there and express yourself. I knew (Keiron) Pollard was there, I couldn’t take time and I just wanted to enjoy the game,” he added.

The 25-year-old said it would have been much closer had his brother Krunal stayed with him a little more during the chase as then they could have taken the game deep.

“I am just holding my shape pretty well and the confidence makes a huge difference. I knew something different had to happen, but it was difficult for one guy to keep going. If Krunal had got a couple, we would have been proper in the game. My plan was to get close to the total so that the run rate doesn’t get affected,” he said.

News24 Bureau/ IANS

Photo: Google