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Aakash Chopra Hails Axar Patel: India’s Under-the-Radar Hero
By CricShots - Jun 28, 2024 6:11 pm
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While the likes of Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah often grab the headlines, former Indian opener Aakash Chopra believes the brilliance of Axar Patel goes largely unnoticed. Following India’s dominant 68-run victory over England in the T20 World Cup semi-final, Chopra hailed Axar’s match-winning performance, praising his ability to deliver under pressure.

Axar Patel
Axar Patel

Axar’s impactful spell of 3-23 in four overs proved crucial in dismantling England’s batting line-up. He arrived at a critical juncture, with England cruising at 26-0 in just three overs. Jos Buttler, England’s trump card, was looking dangerous at 23 off 14 balls. However, Axar silenced the early English momentum by dismissing Buttler with the very first ball of his spell. This pivotal wicket, as Chopra aptly described, “removed England’s best batter.”

Axar’s impact didn’t end there. He went on to claim the important wickets of Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali, effectively breaking the back of England’s batting. His economical bowling, coupled with Kuldeep Yadav’s equally impressive spell of 3-19, choked the flow of runs and tightened India’s grip on the match.

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Aakash Chopra, on his YouTube channel, lamented the lack of recognition Axar often receives despite his consistent performances. “He is the Player of the Match,” Chopra emphasized, “but no one will talk about him tomorrow.” He fondly nicknamed Axar “Bapu,” a term of endearment, and commended his crucial contribution.

“In my opinion, 171 was a daunting chase,” Aakash Chopra explained. “England needed something special to reach that target, and only one batsman seemed capable – Jos Buttler. He started well, but who came to the rescue? Bapu!”

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra highlighted the significance of Axar’s early dismissal of Buttler, effectively extinguishing England’s hopes of a successful chase. He further elaborated on the domino effect triggered by this crucial wicket.

“He got Buttler out with the first ball of his first over,” Aakash Chopra said. “I had even tweeted that Axar should be brought on. He came and picked up a wicket, and then the wickets kept falling. Bumrah cleaned up Salt, Bairstow fell prey to Axar again, and Moeen Ali gifted his wicket with a reckless run-down.”

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Aakash Chopra concluded by summarizing India’s dominant bowling performance. “England’s batsmen simply had no answers,” he stated. “After Brook’s brief resistance, there were no further threats. India’s bowlers were simply too good on the day.”

With this convincing victory, India booked their place in the final against South Africa, set to be played on June 29th in Barbados. While the likes of Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah undoubtedly played their part, Axar Patel’s pivotal performance serves as a reminder of the importance of recognizing the contributions of unsung heroes who can turn the tide of a match with exceptional skill and composure.