DC vs GT IPL 2023: All eyes on Axar Patel the batter
The Delhi Capitals are turning to Axar Patel to fill the void left by Rishabh Pant in their middle order. The BCCI’s latest central contracts have confirmed that Axar’s evolution as a batter has propelled him to become one of India’s top all-rounders. As a result, it was only logical for the Capitals to turn to Axar to take on the defending champions, the Gujarat Titans, on Tuesday evening.
The Capitals call the Ferozeshah Kotla their fortress, and they will need all of their fortitude to face the Titans. The pitch has changed since the Capitals last played at their home ground in 2019, with David Warner describing it as a departure from the historically low and slow surfaces. While this should bode well for the Capitals’ batters, their capitulation against Mark Wood’s searing pace in their last game against the Lucknow Super Giants highlights their fragile middle order.
Wood’s spell exposed the soft underbelly of the Capitals’ batting, and they have had to turn to the likes of Sarfaraz Khan and Aman Khan, who have very little experience of facing top-notch international attacks. The Titans’ potent attack, led by Mohammed Shami and Rashid Khan, will make it even harder for the Capitals to hold their own. This is where Axar is touted to be their saviour.
Here are some of the significant achievements of Axar Patel as a batter in IPL:
- Axar Patel has scored a total of 1,084 runs in his IPL career with a strike rate of 126.14.
- He has hit 52 fours and 51 sixes in the IPL so far.
- His highest score in the IPL is 61* off 36 balls, which he scored while playing for Delhi Capitals against Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2020.
- In the same season, he played a crucial knock of 42* off 33 balls against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Qualifier 2, which helped Delhi Capitals reach their first ever IPL final.
- He has also played some important cameos in the lower middle-order for his previous team, Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings), where he scored a quickfire 21 off 9 balls against Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2018 and 17 off 6 balls against Mumbai Indians in IPL 2019.
- Axar Patel has been known for his ability to hit big sixes and clear the ropes with ease, especially against spinners.
- He has also played some useful innings while chasing targets in the IPL and has been a dependable finisher for his teams.
“It has been discussed that he will bat up the order as his batting has improved. He has batted exceptionally well on difficult tracks against Australia, and hopefully he can score runs for us,” said the Capitals’ director of cricket, Sourav Ganguly.
Axar’s batting prowess in pressure situations came to the fore at this venue a month and a half ago when his 74 bailed India out in the second Test match against Australia. The Capitals will need every bit of that gumption in the coming matches, given their uncertainty about their middle-order resources.
Sarfaraz Khan is an untested batter-wicketkeeper, and Ganguly responded to questions about whether he could last the entire season. “Poor guy has just kept for 20 overs this IPL, and we can’t pass judgement on him so quickly,” he said. The Capitals are considering using the impact-player rule to bring in a wicketkeeper while the rest of the teams are strengthening their batting or bowling.
Overall, things look far from being settled for the Capitals, but they are pinning their hopes on Axar to provide the necessary stability in the middle order. “Everyone has to learn to play fast bowling,” Ganguly stated. “These boys go and score runs in Australia and other places.” With the Titans’ potent attack looming, the Capitals will need to dig deep and draw on every bit of their fortitude to secure a victory.