Axar Patel, the Team India left-arm spinner admitted that the Men in Blue were worried about losing the third ODI against Zimbabwe after Sikandar Raza went berserk. He, however, added that the team decided to stick to their plans as things worked out well in the end.
India beat Zimbabwe by 13 runs in the third and final ODI of the series in Harare on Monday (August 22). But it was not before Sikandar Raza gave them a massive scare, smashing 115 off 95 balls. Chasing 290, Zimbabwe fought hard to reach 276.
Axar Patel Felt Sikandar Raza Could Snatch The 3rd ODI Away From India’s Grasp But India Backed Their Plans And Didn’t Relax
Speaking after the close win, Axar Patel conceded that things got a little too tense in the end.
At the post-match conference, he reflected on the contest and said: “The way Sikandar Raza was batting in the last 10 overs, we felt he could snatch the game away. But we backed our plans and did not relax till the last ball. We decided to put in our best effort till the very end.”
“I think that benefited us a lot. The bowlers executed their plans very well. Avesh Khan was bowling his yorkers, Shardul Thakur was sending down slower ones and wide yorkers. He was mixing it up. Overall, it was an interesting match,” he added.
Axar Patel himself had a memorable outing, claiming two for 30 in his 10 overs, which included a maiden.
Asked about his bowling plans for the match, he replied: “I thought this used pitch was a little bit dry and there was something in it for spinners. It was holding a bit, so I just tried to bowl stump to stump and was waiting for the batters to make some mistakes. Fortunately, I bowled a maiden over, so that was good for me and our team.”
Apart from Axar Patel, fellow Indian left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav also had a good game. He claimed two for 38 in his 10 overs. While Avesh Khan was expensive (66 runs in 9.3 overs), he ended up claiming three wickets.
Axar Patel: India discussed In The Meeting Prior To Toss That They Will Bat First To Give Batters More Practice
Ahead of the match, India captain KL Rahul won his third toss in a row. However, unlike in the first two games, he decided to bat first.
On how challenging it was batting first for a change, the left-arm spinner replied: “We discussed in the meeting that we are going to bat first. That was a challenge for us because some guys are going for Asia Cup and they didn’t get that much batting practice. It was a good challenge, especially the way Raza batted at the end.”
India posted an impressive 289 for eight as opener Shubman Gill (130 off 97) scored his maiden ODI hundred. Sikandar Raza’s 115 went in vain. The pace trio Deepak Chahar (2/75 in 10 overs), Avesh Khan (3/66 in 9.3 overs ) and Shardul Thakur (1/55 in 9 overs) picked wickets but conceded runs at more than 6 runs per over.
The Men in Blue secured a thrilling 13-run victory in the third ODI. The visitors completed a stunning 3-0 series win over Zimbabwe in the ODI rubber. Zimbabwe fought back from 169 for 7 to fall narrowly short in a chase of 290.
From 169 for 7 in a chase of 290, Sikandar Raza’s knock brought Zimbabwe to a point where they needed 15 to win from nine balls. But Sikandar Raza, having already struck three sixes in reaching 115 off 94 balls, swung a slower ball from Shardul Thakur down the ground and was caught by Shubman Gill diving forward from long-on.
India 289 for 8 (Gill 130, Kishan 50, Evans 5-54) beat Zimbabwe 276 (Raza 115, Williams 45, Avesh 3-66) by 13 runs