Axar Patel was sent in ahead of Dinesh Karthik in the second T20I against South Africa, according to Shreyas Iyer, because India didn’t need someone to start striking right away.
The Proteas trounced India by four wickets in the second T20I in Cuttack on Sunday, extending their advantage to 2-0. India was reduced to 98/5 in 14 overs after scoring 211 in the first match. The think tank then dispatched Axar ahead of ‘finisher’ Karthik, surprising everyone.
Axar Patel Is Someone Who Can Rotate Strike Well: Shreyas Iyer
When asked the reason behind it, Shreyas Iyer in the post-match press conference explained: “We strategized earlier. We had 6-7 overs left. Axar Patel is someone who can take singles and keep rotating the strike. We didn’t require someone to go and straightaway start hitting.
“Even DK (Dinesh Karthik) can do that, but DK has been a really good asset for us after 15 overs when he can come in and slog the ball. But even he was finding it a little bit difficult to start on. Wicket played a huge role.”
With an unbeaten 21-ball 30 that included two maximums and as many boundaries, Karthik lifted India from 112/6 to 148/6 in the 17th over.
Harshal Patel (12 not out from nine balls) kept him company as the duo increased India’s run rate by putting together 36 runs in the last three overs to provide some relief.
Indian Batting Fails To Score Big
With the exception of a short 45-run second-wicket stand between Kishan and Shreyas Iyer, the Indian batters struggled on a difficult track.
Kagiso Rabada, who bowled first, set the tone right away with a breakthrough in his first over. He expertly set up Ruturaj Gaikwad (1) with a blitz of short balls before cleverly deceiving the opening with a fuller one.
After a slow start, Kishan (34 from 21 balls) provided the spark in the power play, hammering Nortje for two sixes to boost the team’s run rate.
Kishan used his pick-up shots in the square leg region to knock three sixes and two fours, fresh off his fiery fifty in the Kotla T20I.
Nortje won the battle against the Mumbai Indians opener by pitching it short and offering pace, as the lefthander mistimed his hook this time to be caught at deep square leg, just as the partnership appeared to be settling in.
With 10 balls remaining, Heinrich Klaasen’s stunning 81 helped South Africa chase down the target.