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Hardik Pandya on Axar Patel bowling final over in IND v SL 1st T20I: We are going to challenge ourselves

India vs Sri Lanka, 1st T20I: India captain Hardik Pandya revealed the reason behind handing the ball to Axar Patel in the final over, saying he wanted to challenge his players.

In Short

  • Pandya said credited young players for getting India back into match
  • India beat Sri Lanka by 2 runs in final over thriller in Mumbai
  • India lead Sri Lanka by 1-0 in 3-match T20I series

PosterGuy: India T20I captain Hardik Pandya said that he wanted to challenge his players as the reason for handing the ball to Axar Patel to bowl the final over against Sri Lanka.

India kick started the year 2023 with a two-run victory over the Asian champions Sri Lanka at the Wankhede stadium on Tuesday, January 3. With 13 runs needed off the last six balls, the equation came down to five required from three as Axar conceded a six.

Axar then bowled a dot ball before he, along with Deepak Hooda, completed a run out on the fifth ball. With four needed off the last ball, Hooda and Ishan Kishan pulled off a run out to hand India an early lead in the three-match T20I series.

“We might lose a game here and there but it is alright. It is the young guys who got us back into the game,” Pandya said after the match.

“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. The conversation was very simple, I have seen him,” he added.

Earlier, Axar, along with Hooda, lifted India to post 162/5 after Sri Lanka asked India to bat first. The hosts suffered an early collapse and were reeling at 94/5 when Axar (31* off 20) and Hooda (41* off 23) came into the picture. The duo added 68 runs in the last five overs to give the bowlers something to defend.

“I try to practise for every position and try to give my best at every position,” Hooda said on his batting. “We knew if get the momentum on our side, we will reach 160. I recently played domestic cricket, so I am aware of the game situation even though I don’t practise range hitting.”

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