T20 World Cup 2024: 'Plan was to make it difficult for England without doing anything extraordinary,' says Axar Patel

Axar sent his first ball from round the wicket and Buttler, looking for the reverse-sweep, ended up lobbing it up for wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant to do the rest.
Last Updated : 28 June 2024, 09:21 IST

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Georgetown (Guyana): His exploits in the powerplay set up India's massive win over England and left-arm spinner Axar Patel said keeping things simple was the key as it helped him make life difficult for rival batters "without doing anything extraordinary".

Coming in to bowl in the fourth over, Axar (3/23) removed England skipper Jos Buttler off his very first delivery before dismissing Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali in consecutive overs to derail England's chase as they eventually folded for 103 in pursuit of 172 in the T20 World Cup semifinals here on Thursday.

"Obviously in powerplay, it is difficult (to bowl) but when you know that you are getting help from the wicket, then without thinking much, without doing anything extraordinary, I thought that the more I keep it simple, the easier it would be for me," Axar said during the post-match press conference.

"We spoke in the dressing room that it's not an easy wicket (for batting), and I knew that the batsmen will charge at me. It wasn't going to be easy to hit me down the ground and also (they) couldn't hit off the back foot because the ball wasn't coming on the bat.

"So my plan was to make it difficult for them, force them to think of playing some other shots, and, that's what happened on the first ball. So that was the plan."

Axar sent his first ball from round the wicket and Buttler, looking for the reverse-sweep, ended up lobbing it up for wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant to do the rest.

"I hadn't really planned to get a wicket on the first ball. My mindset was to put the ball in the right areas. Obviously, when you play knockouts, you want to start and finish well with the first and last ball," said Axar, who was adjudged the Player-of-the-Match.

"I think it was difficult to hit big shots, to sweep and reverse sweep because some balls was keeping low on this wicket, so you can't connect it so easily." India scored 171 for 7 after being asked to take first strike and Axar said they were confident of defending the total.

"I think 170 was a par score, we could defend it. Rohit bhai said after he finished batting that it was very difficult to hit big shots because the odd ball was spinning, it was staying low and skidding as well.

"When we made 170, we knew that we had scored 10-15 runs extra, which we could have defended." Batting at number eight, Axar also hit a six during his 10-run cameo and he said it gave him an idea about the nature of the surface as the pacers were bowling slower balls in the death overs.

"Obviously, I got a clue from that (batting) as to what I could do and what I couldn't. When I went to bat, everyone was bowling slower, the ball was not coming at the speed I wanted so I couldn't connect properly. So giving pace would have made it easy for them. It was important to hit the ball at a good area.

"It's also about pressure. When you are chasing, and you know that the wicket is helping the bowlers, as an opener, or anyone in the top four, they think of cashing in on the powerplay as much as possible but it didn't work out."

Published 28 June 2024, 09:21 IST

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