Hardik Pandya continued his return to fitness and form as he smashed an unbeaten 158 off just 55 deliveries in the DY Patil T20 Cup. His destructive knock helped Reliance 1 defeat BPCL by 104 runs and progress to the final of the tournament. Pandya hit 20 sixes and six fours in his innings, as he pushed his case for selection in the national team ahead of India’s ODI series against South Africa starting March 12. Hardik even took a wicket from the one over that he bowled to complete an all-round performance.

Aided by Hardik’s 158, Reliance 1 put 238 on the board after being put in to bat first. Spinner Rahul Chahar took three wickets as Reliance 1 bowled BPCL out for 134. India batsman Shreyas Iyer top-scored for BPCL with a 31-ball 42.

Hardik’s blitzkrieg comes days after he slammed a 39-ball 105 against CAG in the final group stage match of the tournament.

Hardik, who underwent a surgery after suffering a lower-back injury last year, was left out of India’s recently concluded tour of New Zealand after failing a fitness test.

With the India-South Africa series and the Indian Premier League coming up, Pandya has used the DY Patil T20 Cup as a platform to gain match fitness and find form.

In his first match back, Pandya scored 38 off 25 balls against Bank of Baroda in the group stage of the tournament.

After his 105 against CAG in the final group stage game, Pandya hit 46 off 29 deliveries and took two wickets against DY Patil A in the quarter-finals.

“It’s fantastic (platform) for someone like me. I have been away for almost six months. This is my second game after a long time. For me it is a good platform to see where I am currently and test my body. I am really happy with the way things have gone,” Hardik had told DY Patil Sports Academy after the match against CAG.