With Sri Lanka requiring 13 to win off the last six balls, there were quite a few raised eyebrows as India captain Hardik Pandya asked Axar Patel to bowl the last over of the first T20I at Wankhede Stadium.
“We might lose a game here and there but it’s alright,” Pandya explained in the post match presentation. “I want to put this team in difficult situations because it will help us in big games. Bilaterals we are very good at and this is how we are going to challenge ourselves. To be honest, all the young guns got us out of the situation today.”
Surprised to see Axar bowling the final over? Here’s Captain @hardikpandya7 revealing the reason behind the move. #INDvSL #TeamIndia @mastercardindia pic.twitter.com/dewHMr93Yi
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 3, 2023
Harshal Patel had already conceded 16 runs off the penultimate over. Axar Patel would begin with a wide before he was picked up by Chamika Karunaratne for a maximum as the equation fell down to five needed off the last three balls. The southpaw all-rounder however, took kept his nerve as he helped India claim a two-run win.
Earlier, Axar had also contributed with the bat as he scored 31 runs off 20 balls to add 68 runs for the sixth wicket alongside Deepak Hooda.
Making his T20I debut for India, Shivam Mavi was the pick of the bowlers as he picked a 4-fer, giving away just 22 runs off his quota of four overs.
“The conversation was very simple, I have seen him (Mavi) bowl well in the IPL and I know what are his strengths, just back yourself and don’t worry about getting hit. I just told him to simply bowl. I told him, ‘I am backing you. Even if you get hit, it’s fine.’ If the same situation is there, I will take the new ball,” Pandya said afterwards.