"He Was Joking Around": Axar On Pant After Crucial Partnership vs Pakistan

Rishabh Pant and Axar Patel added 39 runs for the third wicket after India had lost the wickets of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.

"He Was Joking Around": Axar On Pant After Crucial Partnership vs Pakistan

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Following India's six-run win over Pakistan in their T20 World Cup match, all-rounder Axar Patel, wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant, and pacer Mohammed Siraj opened up on their respective gameplans that contributed to India's win. Jasprit Bumrah's terrific three-wicket and a counter-attacking knock by Rishabh Pant powered India to a narrow win at a packed Nassau County Stadium in the highly-anticipated clash. In a video posted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), spinner Yuzvendra Chahal unveiled his latest episode of 'Chahal TV' featuring the aforementioned three players.

Chahal asked Axar about being promoted to number four in the batting order to which the bowling all-rounder said that things were made easy as Pant, who is also his skipper at the Delhi Capitals, was joking around and having fun between the deliveries.

"There was no chance of planning when I came to know that I was going to go at four. When I went for the batting, it was easy for me. Our captain (Pant, DC captain) was not telling me anything about cricket. He was just joking around. He knew that I would become a little easy. He kept telling me something on every ball. I also talked to him and it became a little easy. It was the same planning and nothing else," said Axar.

On bowling to Pakistan all-rounder Imad Wasim, Axar said that he did not want to get hit for a six in the mid-wicket region and the plan was to not give him any balls in his range.

"So I talked to the captain, Rohit bhai, that I would ball in the cut so give me two points. And keep the back sweeper a little inside the cut. If he hits the four on the cut or the cover, then it is okay. Because that is a very difficult shot. If the execution was good, then the over was also good. And then the difference in the run also increased," he added.

Opening up on his gameplan while coming to bat in a crunch situation, Pant said that the plan was to play with a positive mindset.

"India-Pakistan is always a match of pressure. When Bapu (Axar) came in, the entire IPL, he practiced the same thing, batting at number three or four. When your mate is with you, you become comfortable. We were talking to each other and we were getting comfortable with each other. We did not think much about the situation," he said.

Onbeing asked about which of the three catches he took in the game was his favourite, Pant said, "All the catches were my favorites."

Siraj, who scored valuable seven runs in the end, said that he has been practicing his batting a lot in the nets.

"All the runs made by the tailenders are very crucial at the end of the day. You found out at the end how important the seven runs were to me. So I am very happy with those seven runs and I won the match. It was very good," he added.

Regarding his game plan while bowling, Siraj said he wanted to keep things simple.

"My only plan was to get a low score. I do not try too much. I keep a simple plan and execute it wherever I can. If the batsman takes a good shot from there, then it is a good shot. So, my only plan was to put it in one place," the Indian pacer said.

Coming to the match, Pakistan won the toss and put India to bat first. However, the Indian batters did not get things going for them at this tough surface as star openers Virat Kohli (4) and Rohit Sharma (13) failed to score big. Rishabh Pant (42 in 31 balls, with six fours) seemed to be playing on a different pitch and had useful partnerships with Axar Patel (20 in 18 balls, with two fours and a six) and Suryakumar Yadav (seven in eight balls, with a four). However, the lower middle order crumbled under the pressure of scoring runs on such a tough pitch and India could make just 119 in 19 overs.

Haris Rauf (3/21) and Naseem Shah (3/21) were the top bowlers for Pakistan. Mohammed Amir got two scalps while Shaheen Shah Afridi got one.

In the run-chase, Pakistan took a more measured approach and Mohammed Rizwan (31 in 44 balls, with a four and six) held one end steady. However, Bumrah (3/14) and Hardik Pandya (2/24) got crucial wickets of skipper Babar Azam (13), Fakhar Zaman (13), Shadab Khan (4), Iftikhar Ahmed (5) as well, which kept the pressure intact on Pakistan. With 18 runs needed in the final over, Naseem Shah (10*) tried to win it for Pakistan, however, Arshdeep Singh (1/31) made sure Pakistan fell short by six runs.

Bumrah secured the 'Player of the Match' for his match-winning spell.

After winning this thriller, India is at the top of Group A with two wins in two games and four points. Pakistan is in fourth place, having lost both their games to the USA and India. Their knockout stage chances look slim.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)