Deepak Hooda and Axar Patel’s important 68-run partnership proved to be a game-changer for India. With their outstanding performance, the duo surpassed MS Dhoni and Yusuf Pathan’s feat (against England in June 2009) as Team India’s highest sixth-wicket stand in T20Is.
India defeated Sri Lanka by two runs in the first T20I of the three-match series on Tuesday at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bowl first, limiting the hosts to 162/5 after 20 overs.
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At 94/5, the Men in Blue were having trouble, but all-rounders Deepak Hooda and Axar Patel put together a 68-run partnership for the sixth wicket to help them reach a respectable score. The visitors responded by batting admirably to move near to the target, led by captain Dasun Shanaka’s stunning 45 off 27 balls, but they were bowled out for 160 in 20 overs.
For India, the pivotal 68-run partnership between Hooda and Axar changed the course of the game. The pair surpassed MS Dhoni and Yusuf Pathan’s achievement (against England in June 2009) as the highest sixth-wicket stand for Team India in T20 Internationals thanks to their outstanding partnership. Just behind Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya’s 70-run partnership against England at Narendra Modi Stadium in March 2021, Hooda-Axar currently holds the second slot on the list.
Deepak Hooda batted brilliantly, scoring 41 runs in 23 balls:
Player of the Match Hooda remained unbeaten on 41 off 23 balls which included four massive sixes and one four while Axar contributed an unbeaten 31 off 20 balls, hitting one six and three fours. Besides the two, Ishan Kishan and captain Hardik Pandya played handy knocks for Team India. Ishan scored 37 off 29 balls while Pandya hit 29 off 27 balls.
Fast bowler Shivam Mavi, a rookie, had a dream debut for the Men in Blue, taking four wickets in his first match. In the game, Umran Malik and Harshal Patel both claimed two wickets.
With two wickets still in the game, Sri Lanka needed 13 runs in the final over to win. Axar of India maintained composure as he secured a thrilling victory for the hosts with only 10 runs conceded.
On January 5, India and Sri Lanka will play their second Twenty20 International.