Axar on the DC mini-collapse: Didn't even realize what was happening

When the bafflingly predictable yet inexplicable incident involving the Delhi Capitals in IPL 2023 occurred, Axar Patel had ordered a cup of coffee. David Warner, Sarfaraz Khan, and Aman Hakim Khan were all out after Washington Sundar's second over, which was the eighth of DC's inning. And in an instant, the Capitals' position, which had been relatively stable at 57/2, changed to 62/5.

Axar has been criticized for being positioned lower on a Capitals club that has had trouble at the plate. He was again tasked with supporting the middle and lower order in Hyderabad, but he was called into action quite abruptly. "I wasn't even aware of what was happening. Axar remarked during the post-game presentation, "I had just bought coffee and I had to leave that cup of coffee as it was because I found out we had lost three wickets in one over, so I had to sprint and go straight in to bat.

"Once I stepped up to the plate, I had time to consider what was happening. I was there with [Manish] Pandey, and Pandey indicated that the deeper we could go, the better, because if we had some runs, we could fight back.

While Axar and Manish Pandey worked to create a 69-run partnership for the sixth wicket, the coffee cup remained unattended near his seat. The 29-year-old adjusted his approach to hit a run-a-ball 34 on a slow-playing field that forbade batters from hitting on the up. As a result, the visitors were able to score 144, which turned out to be competitive enough for the Capitals to eke out just their second victory of the year—a seven-run victory.

Axar's errand however wasn't finished for the night. With his left-arm spin, he was at the center of the defense and got both top scorer Mayank Agarwal and captain Aiden Markram, who got 2 for 21 in his four overs. Clearly, the pitch was a little sluggish. Axar stated, "The ball was stopping." Kuldeep [Yadav] and I have bowled in organizations even on the Delhi wickets, so when I batted I felt that Kuldeep and I can trap the players. Therefore, the more runs I could score for us, the better. So that was the plan, and Kuldeep and I had a good time bowling together. I continue bowling hitters yet getting him [Markram] with the more slow ball, that I delighted in more," he said.

In what has been a dismal first half of IPL 2023 for the Capitals, Axar's all-around performances earned him the inaugural Player of the Match honor. On a personal level, however, Axar's performance couldn't have been greater. He currently ranks second on DC's batting and bowling statistics, respectively, after David Warner and Kuldeep Yadav, highlighting his overall significance to the club.

He chuckled, "Yeah, I need to make it bigger [his trophy cabinet], so that's why I'm just collecting them now, so I can figure out how big I need to build it."


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