Bengaluru: Kings XI Punjab all-rounder Axar Patel says his side’s 19-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore was a huge confidence booster and they would look to carry on the momentum in the coming matches of the IPL.
“It was a huge confidence booster. Even in the last game, we bowled well. It was 68 then. Now again a low total. The momentum is with us now and it will show more in the coming matches,” said Axar, whose all-round effort guided Kings XI Punjab to victory here last night.
Axar smashed his way to an unbeaten 38 off 17 balls as Kings XI Punjab managed 138 for 7 and then grabbed 3/11 in three overs as RCB were skittled out for 119 in 19 overs. He said it was a slow wicket with low bounce at the Chinnaswamy Stadium and runs were coming if one played with a straight bat. Axar was all praise of team-mate Sandeep Sharma who took 3/22, saying the pacer was not scared by big names.
“His (Sandeep’s) mindset is simple, if the ball swings he shows his capabilities. He is not scared of big names in the opposition. He just bowls to his strengths,” he said.
“His strength is that he can swing the ball, so he knows when he can get it to swing, it gets difficult for the batsmen. Take any format, when the ball swings, batsmen find it difficult.”
On captain Glenn Maxwell’s form, Axar said, “It is not true that he is not firing. In the middle, he has played few balls and finished games. Even against Mumbai Indians in Indore, he scored runs.
“In the last two games, maybe the runs have not come. Wicket also was helpful to the bowlers today. So that’s why maybe he got out. It is not true that he’s not able to score. He is confident and will do well,” he said.
Asked what was the team plan batting first, Axar said it was decided that 150 was a good total on a slowish track, but Wriddhiman Saha’s wicket forced to change the plan and go for 130-odd total, which he did by getting 20 runs of Shane Watson’s last over.
“150 was a good total. That’s what we decided in the strategic timeout. The way wickets were falling and there being no batsmen after me, we planned to get to 150,” he said.
“When Saha got out, we thought we had to bat out the overs. If one batsman stays in the end, anything could happen. This was the plan. When I did not get the strike, we thought may be we can reach 130. It was good that we scored nearly 20 in the final over,” he added.
He said his side’s bowlers stuck to the plan of bowling line and length during the RCB run chase.
“If the batsman plays a good shot, so be it. Like how AB (de Villiers) hit a straight drive, but length balls from the wicket was two-paced. Some kept low, some slow. We planned to keep the momentum with us. Even if they charge, we should not lose our line and length,” he said.
“I think the first six overs, it was better to have the pace bowlers bowling as much as possible in the first six overs. The new ball was swinging a bit. Obviously Sandy (Sandeep) is our main bowler. He gets it to swing in the first six overs,” Axar said.