Axar Patel: We felt that Raza could take his side across the line but we backed our plan
India’s endeavour to challenge themselves by batting first in the third ODI at the Harare Sports Club almost blew up on Monday (August 22) when Sikandar Raza blazed away to a 95-ball 115 but Axar Patel conceded that he gave the guests a panic.
India’s endeavour to challenge themselves by batting first in the third ODI at the Harare Sports Club almost blew up on Monday (August 22) when Sikandar Raza blazed away to a 95-ball 115. The hosts couldn’t redesign India’s all out of 289, at last missing the mark by 13 runs, but Axar Patel conceded that he gave the guests a panic.
“We had discussed in the team meeting that we will bat first if we won the toss,”Axar said after India’s win.
“Some guys are going for Asia Cup and they hadn’t got enough batting practice. So that was a challenge.
“We had put up a good total. When they came out to bat, they were scoring at a good rate. When a few wickets fell, we felt we have again taken control of the game. But the way Sikandar Raza batted in the last 10 overs, we felt that he could take the team over the line. But we backed our plan and that we wouldn’t relax till the end – whether wickets falls or doesn’t. That helped us.
“The bowlers were executing their plans. It was good to see the way Avesh khan was bowling the yorkers, the way Shardul Thakur was mixing up his slower ones and wide yorkers. That was positive to see the way we were executing the plans.”
The stage for the triumph however was laid by Shubhman Gill’s maiden ODI century. Coming into bat at No.3 after Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul had placed on a 63-run partnership for the opening wicket, Gill kept India’s innings intact nearly till the end.
After making a 140-run stand on the third wicket with Ishan Kishan – who stroked a half-century – Gill accepted the mantle of scoring as wickets continued to tumble from the opposite end. His 97-ball 130 included 15 boundaries and a six before he perished in the 50th over got at long off.
His run of form, according to Axar, is the biggest positive for India emerging from the series.
“The way he’s batting, the way he’s converting singles and doubles, the way he’s not playing a lot of dot balls, that to me is the biggest positive,”he said.
“When he’s batting, there are always singles and two comings and he’s able to put the bad balls for boundaries. He players spinners well, rotates the strike, and even plays the sweep and reverse sweep well.”
“It is a little tough when you play two matches and suddenly you’ve to sit out,”he said.
“And then again you play two or three matches. It’s tough but I back myself and train my mind to think that this is the opportunity for you to do well. If I do well here, I’ll get to play the next game. I can also play with the mindset (cribbing) that I get dropped after getting a couple of opportunities. But I take it in a positive way that I’m getting an opportunity to perform well for India, and if I do well, I’ll improve myself. So it’s on you how you take it.”