“150 was a good total. That’s what we had decided in the strategic time out. The way wickets were falling and there being no batsmen after me, we planned to get to 150. 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 didn’t get the strike, we thought may be we can reach 130,” Axar said.
That Kings XI got closer to 140 ( 138 ) was all down to Axar. Even before the final over, he’d scored quickly to move to 20 off 11. There had been no premeditation, as there can be when runs are desperately sought as Glenn Maxwell showed with a failed reverse-sweep. Axar simply lofted the ball in the ‘v’ and only ever resorted to playing square of the wicket when the bowlers were kind enough to offer width.
Then the final over from Watson brought a six over long on and a four past long off. Only when Watson overcompensated by dragging his length short than Axar brought out the cut and the swivel-pull. Nineteen runs came off the final over, each run worth its weight in gold.
“I think it was a slow wicket with low bounce. If one played with a straight bat, it was easier,” he explained. “A pull or a cut square of the wicket was not on. The more you played with a straight bat, it was better. Dealing with length balls was difficult. It wasn’t coming on to the bat. It was a two-paced”.
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