“They have Nortje and Rabada, we have Virat Bhai”: Axar Patel on South Africa Clash

Sydney :

Following his side’s 56-run victory over the Netherlands in their ICC T20 World Cup match here, Indian spinner Axar Patel had a spirited message for South Africa, who will meet India in their next encounter on Sunday. He said that if South Africa has pacesetters like Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada, India has Virat Kohli in shape. An outstanding performance by Indian bowlers coupled with half a century by a trio of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav helped the Men in Blue take a 56-run victory over the Netherlands in their Group 2, ICC Super 12 match T20 World Cup at Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday.

Axar said Sunday’s encounter against South Africa is “an important game”.

“We will plan it. We will play our normal cricket brand that we play without worrying about bouncers and the fact that they have bowlers like Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada. We also have our Virat bhai (Virat Kohli) in shape”, joked Axar.

During his wicket-taking bowling spell against the Netherlands after a disappointing performance against arch-rival Pakistan, the spinner said he was able to reset his mind after that match and had confidence in the match in the Netherlands.

“Sometimes as a bowler a batter is able to take his chances against you and achieve success. I saw videos with our bowling coach and my line and length were good except for one ball. Sometimes you get beat on good balls. But if you keep thinking about this, you’ll never make a comeback,” he added.

The bowler said the team received a message while India was hitting the Netherlands after winning the toss that the ball stopped and the pitch offered no spin or swing. This was also the case in the second innings when India pitched, he said.

Speaking about his batting order placement against Pakistan, Axar said it happened because Pakistan has left arm and leg spinners.

“Our first six batters are right-handed. So I was told to stay ready to hit in such situations. I practiced accordingly,” he added.

With Wednesday’s win, India tops the points list with four points from two games. The Netherlands is at the bottom and still has to score a point.

India scored 179/2 in their 20 overs after choosing to bat first. Virat (62*), Suryakumar Yadav (51*) and skipper Rohit Sharma (53) shone with half a century. Rohit and Virat set a 75-run score for the second wicket, while Suryakumar and Virat set a 95-by-48-ball unbeaten score for the third wicket.

KL Rahul failed to fire again, scoring only 9 points.

Fred Klaassen and Paul van Meekeran each took a wicket for the Dutch.

In the pursuit of 180, the Netherlands didn’t seem much of a threat and from ball one, Indian pacers and spinners put pressure on the batters. Tim Pringle (21) and Colin Ackermann (17) were the best hitters for the Orange squad. They ended the innings on 123/9 and lost the game by 56 runs.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/9), Axar Patel (2/18), Arshdeep Singh (2/27) and Ravichandran Ashwin (2/21) took two scalps for India. Shami got one wicket.

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Suryakumar Yadav became the ‘Man of the Match’ for his brilliant half-century.

Short scores: India: 179/2 (Virat Kohli 62*, Rohit Sharma 53, Paul van Meekeran 1/32) beat Netherlands: 123/9 (Tim Pringle 20, Colin Ackermann 17, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2/9).

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