Sri Lanka needed just 13 runs to win in the first T20I at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai against India on Tuesday (January 3). Skipper Hardik Pandya handed the ball to left-arm spinner Axar Patel with the task of defending the target which the all-rounder managed to do splendidly.
After being hammered for a six off the third ball of the final over by Chamika Karunaratne, Axar was left with 5 runs to defend in the last three balls. The spinner bowled a dot ball next and then affected run outs off the last two balls to fashion a two-run win for India.
After the match, skipper Hardik revealed why Axar was handed the ball in the final over although he himself had one over remaining in his quota of overs. “We might lose a game here and there but it’s okay. It’s the young guys who got us back into the game,” Hardik Pandya said in the post-match presentation,
That’s that from the 1st T20I.#TeamIndia win by 2 runs and take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Hardik had to leave the field for a brief while after taking a catch. “It is just cramps. Now I have tendency to scare people. I didn’t sleep well, didn’t drink enough water and hence the glutes were stiff. I was unwell and I had my fluids down,” Hardik said at the presentation ceremony.
One of the youngsters who shone bright on the night was debutant pacer Shivam Mavi. The skipper was full of praise for the fast bowler, who picked up 4/22 in his first T20 outing. “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. I have been bowling in the nets with the new ball since I returned in the IPL. I have learned how to swing it back.
(with PTI inputs)