Former India wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel praised Axar Patel for his heroics in the second ODI against West Indies yesterday (July 24). The all-rounder slammed a match-winning 64 off 35 deliveries to help India chase down 312 in the final over at the Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain.
India hit a snag with quick dismissals during their chase, losing their top-order with 79 runs on the board. A 99-run partnership between Shreyas Iyer and Sanju Samson rebuilt the innings, but India were still far from the target.
Coming into bat with still over 100 runs left to chase, Axar took it upon himself to guide his team home. In the process, he also recorded his maiden ODI fifty, thereby earning the Player of the Match award.
Claiming it is the best he has seen the all-rounder bat, Parthiv said on Cricbuzz:
"We all have seen how good Samson is, I thought he was batting really well. When Axar came out to bat, the game was going towards the West Indies. I have seen him very very closely. To me, it was probably the best I have ever seen him bat."
Prior to the second ODI, the left-handed all-rounder had the highest score of 38 in ODI cricket, which came six years ago against New Zealand at home. He has significantly improved his batting credentials through his cameos in the Indian Premier League (IPL) over the last couple of years.
"It is the reason why they are leading in the IPL as well" - Parthiv Patel on Sanju Sanson and Shreyas Iyer's responsibility and maturity
Shreyas Iyer continued to make a case for himself in the ODI format with his third consecutive fifty. He is on the lookout to cement a spot in the middle order, having recently become the second-fastest Indian to scale the 1000-run mark in ODIs. .
Sanju Samson, on the other hand, registered his maiden ODI half-century in only his third appearance. He came close to scoring a fifty on his debut in Sri Lanka last year, but fell short by four runs.
Noting that the partnership between Iyer and Samson changed the course of the match, Parthiv Patel said:
"Samson and Iyer's partnership changed the game, India were beginning to lose the plot, but they played with a lot of responsibility and maturity. It is the reason why they are leading in the IPL as well. The run-out miss in the 46th over was also crucial,"
India, having claimed a 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series, will face West Indies in the final ODI at the same venue on July 27 (Wednesday).