Rohit Sharma’s emotional speech brings Hardik Pandya to tears at Wankhede

Written by Vipin Darwade

The emotional rollercoaster of victory unfolded for Hardik Pandya at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday, July 4. Tears welled up in his eyes as he listened to Rohit Sharma’s speech during India’s T20 World Cup celebrations. Sharma’s praise, crediting Pandya’s composure for dismissing a key South African player, David Miller, brought a wave of emotions for the all-rounder. This return to Wankhede held special significance for Pandya.

It’s the home ground for his IPL team Mumbai Indians (MI). However, his relationship with the Mumbai crowd had been strained. They had heckled, criticised and booed him during the IPL 2024, a period marked by controversy surrounding his captaincy of MI. This negativity stemmed from Pandya’s decision to leave MI and lead Gujarat Titans (GT) for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, before returning to MI in 2024. But Hardik proved his mettle in the T20 World Cup and turned all the boos into cheers.

“Hardik was bowling the last crucial over for us. Hats off to him for that last. You know how many over you need to defend, there is always so much pressure to bowl that over, hats off to him,” Rohit said at the India’s felicitation ceremony on July 4.

“This trophy is entirely for the nation. It was an honour to meet PM Narendra Modi with the team. We all know how passionate he is about sports. When it comes to winning trophies, Mumbai never disappoints. I am very proud of this team. I am very lucky to have this team. The entire players and support staff walk started three-four years ago. It was the effort of what we have done in the last 3-4 years,” Rohit added.

Pandya emerged as a true champion in the T20 World Cup final. Entrusted with the responsibility of defending 16 runs in the final over, the pressure was immense. Yet, Pandya held his nerve, bowling a masterful spell to secure a thrilling seven-run victory for India. The raw emotion on his face after the last wicket fell spoke volumes about what this win meant to him. Pandya’s impact went beyond the final over. Earlier in the game, with South Africa cruising towards victory, his dismissal of Heinrich Klaasen in the 17th over proved to be a crucial turning point.  This wicket sparked a dramatic shift in momentum, paving the way for one of the most incredible comebacks in T20 World Cup final history.  Pandya truly stepped up when his team needed him most.

About the author

Vipin Darwade