Dubai: There was no doubt about Hardik Pandya’s talent. The Indian all-rounder has emerged as a serious winner, combining a cool mind and methodical approach, as he showed in his thriller against Pakistan in his Cup of Asia on Sunday.

Emotions run high whenever India and Pakistan clash in a cricket match, and many players have succumbed to the pressure that comes with these matches between rivals.

Pandya looked cut from a different cloth as they defied the mounting pressure in the closing stages of India’s nervous chase to clinch victory with a nonchalant six with two balls to spare.

The same composure was seen in his silent celebration as he fist-butted with batting partner Dinesh Karthik, who bowed in front of Pandya.

Pandya’s 3-25 ball possession and 33 knots out off 17 deliveries earned him a well-deserved Man of the Match Award.

“Over the last few years, I’ve realized that staying as calm as possible helps me execute all my plans,” the 28-year-old said after winning the award.

“You can take 50-50 chances, but staying calm will help you succeed.”

Needing 21 runs from 12 balls, India looked to be in trouble, but the penultimate over from Harris Rauch allowed Pandya to hit three borders to ease the pressure.

Spinner Mohammad Nawaz held off Rabindra Jadeja on the first ball of the final over, but Pandya long flat-batted the fourth ball to give India a winning start to their title defense.

Pandya said he was clear about how to achieve the chase and knew the pressure would be on the bowlers at that stage.

“The last (target-in) was 7 runs, and even if it was 15 runs, you would have thought you had a chance,” Pandia said.

“I know it’s 16 (in question), 20 overs and the bowlers feel I’m under pressure to bowl.”

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