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Sixer Patel flips his all-rounder specialisation

Updated on Jul 25, 2022 12:31 PM IST

Gujarat left-hander wins India the series against WI with a powerful batting performance in a tall run chase

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India's Axar Patel plays a shot against West Indies during the second ODI cricket match at Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain.(AP)

Bowling all-rounder or batting all-rounder? Axar Patel or Akshar Patel? Right from his playing profile status to how his name should be spelt, these remain unresolved matters around the Gujarat left-hander. But in the early hours of Monday, to the amazement of groggy eyed fans back home, Patel reiterated his all-round value to team India with a match-winning performance at Trinidad’s Queen’s Park Oval.

Better known for his economical T20 bowling and a deadly straighter one with the red-ball, Patel’s knock of 64*(off 35 balls) comprising of five powerful sixes, which in addition to his bowling spell of 9-40-1 helped India register a stunning two-wicket win to seal the ODI series 2-0.

With all the talk of ODI cricket being excess to requirements following Ben Stokes walking away from the format, India’s second-string team pulled off back-to-back victories in two last-over thrillers.

When Patel walked out to bat at No 7, an India win appeared to be a long shot, with 107 runs to get in 68 balls. India’s top order was dismissed – Shubman Gill (43) falling to an uncharacteristic stroke, Shreyas Iyer (63) dismissed to a marginal lbw call, Sanju Samson yet again failing to kick on after a promising 50. Patel had joined Deepak Hooda; theirs’ being the last recognized batting pair, although Patel’s real recognition was to be firmed up in the overs to come.

Hooda, more fancied to play the big shots was struggling with his timing but Patel showed his intentions early by depositing spinner Akeal Hosein over long leg for a maximum. Boundaries and sixes go a long way in keeping the asking rate in check in tall run-chases. These are the T20 takeaways batters carry to ODI cricket too. Patel kept targeting the straight boundaries with repeated powerful blows.

He had done it once in IPL 2022, batting with Lalit Yadav against Mumbai Indians by hitting 75 runs in the last five overs of the chase. Playing his first ODI series after 5 years, he managed to do an encore.

“It’s my first ODI half century and it’s very special because it came at a crucial time in the match,” he said post-match. “We needed 10-an-over for 11 overs which I thought was chaseable. We have been playing in IPL for so long. We just had to stay positive and keep showing the intent.”

Patel put to use all his T20 learnings. Identifying Hosein’s left-arm-spin as his favourable match up, the southpaw struck down 23 runs in 11 balls at a strike rate of 209. Once Hooda was dismissed and more risks had to be taken, he targeted low-on-confidence Romario Shepherd in his final over with Avesh Khan’s help to collect 13 runs off the 47th.

By batting to his strengths, Patel scored 27 runs from straight boundaries, 12 by targeting the mid-wicket region. He didn’t quite exercise Dhoni-esque confidence by refusing singles to retain strike but in Avesh found an ideal partner with whom he staged a quickfire 24-run 8th wicket stand.

Things got tense in the final over. But the odds were against bowler Kyle Mayers’ for whom it was his first ever attempt at bowling the closing over in a white-ball game. Patel had known what it was to soak pressure with his IPL experience. With 6 needed off 3 balls, a full-toss was duly deposited in the stands to the delight of India’s balcony.

“Our domestic cricket is quite strong and IPL makes a huge impact. When you have done it before in front of huge crowds against international players, you tell yourself, ‘If I can do it here, why not in international cricket too’. Axar has done it before,” said captain Shikhar Dhawan.

Amongst those watching and applauding was Ravindra Jadeja. Had he not been injured, Patel probably wouldn’t have played. Both are all-rounders in a similar mold and only one is likely to make it to the final squad of 15 for the upcoming T20 World Cup. Even if Patel finds a place only in the reserves, this knock would serve as a timely reminder to the team management and the selectors of the impact he can have on a game.

Bowling all-rounder or batting all-rounder? Axar Patel or Akshar Patel? Right from his playing profile status to how his name should be spelt, these remain unresolved matters around the Gujarat left-hander. But in the early hours of Monday, to the amazement of groggy eyed fans back home, Patel reiterated his all-round value to team India with a match-winning performance at Trinidad’s Queen’s Park Oval.

Better known for his economical T20 bowling and a deadly straighter one with the red-ball, Patel’s knock of 64*(off 35 balls) comprising of five powerful sixes, which in addition to his bowling spell of 9-40-1 helped India register a stunning two-wicket win to seal the ODI series 2-0.

Also Read | Team India breaks Pakistan's spectacular world record with ODI series win against West Indies

With all the talk of ODI cricket being excess to requirements following Ben Stokes walking away from the format, India’s second-string team pulled off back-to-back victories in two last-over thrillers.

When Patel walked out to bat at No 7, an India win appeared to be a long shot, with 107 runs to get in 68 balls. India’s top order was dismissed – Shubman Gill (43) falling to an uncharacteristic stroke, Shreyas Iyer (63) dismissed to a marginal lbw call, Sanju Samson yet again failing to kick on after a promising 50. Patel had joined Deepak Hooda; theirs’ being the last recognized batting pair, although Patel’s real recognition was to be firmed up in the overs to come.

Hooda, more fancied to play the big shots was struggling with his timing but Patel showed his intentions early by depositing spinner Akeal Hosein over long leg for a maximum. Boundaries and sixes go a long way in keeping the asking rate in check in tall run-chases. These are the T20 takeaways batters carry to ODI cricket too. Patel kept targeting the straight boundaries with repeated powerful blows.

He had done it once in IPL 2022, batting with Lalit Yadav against Mumbai Indians by hitting 75 runs in the last five overs of the chase. Playing his first ODI series after 5 years, he managed to do an encore.

“It’s my first ODI half century and it’s very special because it came at a crucial time in the match,” he said post-match. “We needed 10-an-over for 11 overs which I thought was chaseable. We have been playing in IPL for so long. We just had to stay positive and keep showing the intent.”

Patel put to use all his T20 learnings. Identifying Hosein’s left-arm-spin as his favourable match up, the southpaw struck down 23 runs in 11 balls at a strike rate of 209. Once Hooda was dismissed and more risks had to be taken, he targeted low-on-confidence Romario Shepherd in his final over with Avesh Khan’s help to collect 13 runs off the 47th.

By batting to his strengths, Patel scored 27 runs from straight boundaries, 12 by targeting the mid-wicket region. He didn’t quite exercise Dhoni-esque confidence by refusing singles to retain strike but in Avesh found an ideal partner with whom he staged a quickfire 24-run 8th wicket stand.

Things got tense in the final over. But the odds were against bowler Kyle Mayers’ for whom it was his first ever attempt at bowling the closing over in a white-ball game. Patel had known what it was to soak pressure with his IPL experience. With 6 needed off 3 balls, a full-toss was duly deposited in the stands to the delight of India’s balcony.

“Our domestic cricket is quite strong and IPL makes a huge impact. When you have done it before in front of huge crowds against international players, you tell yourself, ‘If I can do it here, why not in international cricket too’. Axar has done it before,” said captain Shikhar Dhawan.

Amongst those watching and applauding was Ravindra Jadeja. Had he not been injured, Patel probably wouldn’t have played. Both are all-rounders in a similar mold and only one is likely to make it to the final squad of 15 for the upcoming T20 World Cup. Even if Patel finds a place only in the reserves, this knock would serve as a timely reminder to the team management and the selectors of the impact he can have on a game.

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