T20 World Cup 2024 | The plan was to bat as long as possible, says Axar

Showing his mettle: Axar, promoted to No. 4, chipped in with a useful contribution.
| Photo Credit: DEEPAK KR

On the seam-friendly pitches at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, Axar Patel’s left-arm spin plays second fiddle to the pacers.

Axar, however, has added great value as a batter. The southpaw, promoted to No. 4 in the Pakistan outing on Sunday, held the Indian innings together with an 18-ball 20.

Axar was tasked with negotiating the PowerPlay safely. If Axar could hang around long enough to take the sting out of the new ball, the likes of Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya and Shivam Dube to come would have it easier.

“Rohit (Sharma) bhai has been clear that the only batting spots which are fixed are those of the openers. Everything below that is flexible.

“I got a brief — I don’t have to slog wildly. The plan was to bat as long as possible and make the new ball a bit older. This would make it easier for batters coming after me,” Axar said in a media interaction here.

A 39-run third-wicket with Rishabh Pant proved to be crucial in the low-scoring affair. “The partnership with Rishabh was crucial. We got to a good position after 10 overs. We knew that batting second on this pitch would not be easy, so we remained positive even though we scored only 119,” Axar said.

The left-arm spinner has only bowled three overs in India’s two matches.

However, the 30-year-old did make an impact, trapping Usman Khan leg-before off the first ball he bowled.

He later tightened the screws on Pakistan by conceding just two runs in the 16th over. Left-hander Imad Wasim, expected to have it easy against a left-arm spinner, ended up being beaten three times in a row.

“Some pressure built up because I bowled a tidy over. There is not much in the wicket for the spinners. I did not want to let them free their arms and go for big shots,” Axar said.

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