The Indian team had a forgettable evening after they got outplayed by the Sri Lankans in the second T20I in Pune on Thursday. While chasing 207 runs, the Men in Blue fell short of 16 runs and lost the match. The three-match series now stands at 1-1. Despite losing the match, it was Axar Patel’s heroics that caught the attention of fans as he took his team to the edge of victory. Axar scored 65 runs and built a 91-run partnership with Suryakumar Yadav. Team India ended up scoring 190/8.

Former India cricketer Wasim Jaffer lauded Axar Patel and said if he continues to perform like this, he can fill the place of Ravindra Jadeja, who has been not playing due to injury.

“India are not missing Jadeja, who has been a phenomenal player in all three formats. But since India have found Axar Patel, we are not talking too much about Jadeja since he’s been away. Goes on to show how good Axar has come about as a cricketer. Fantastic. At the moment, yes (Axar is India’s No.1 spin all-rounder). India are lucky they have got such a like-for-like replacement (for Jadeja) in Axar Patel. He’s making the most of it in all formats. He can bowl in the powerplay, which I feel Jadeja does not like. Axar can do it. And If he bats like this, it’s debatable”, said Jaffer on ESPNCricinfo.

“In the last game also, he’s contributed immensely with the bat. Today (Thursday), he again showed how much he has improved. Massive improvements in Axar as a batter. He’s got a pretty good technique. We don’t see him slogging too many balls. He’s pretty sure that when he connects, he’s going to go out of the park. He targets the spinners, stands still and hits it pretty straight as well,” he added.

Sri Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka scored an unbeaten 56 off 22 balls and Kushan Mendis also contributed with a 31-ball 52 to help Sri Lanka to reach 206 for 6.

Hardik Pandya-led team will be locking horns against the Sri Lankans in the third and final T20I match on Saturday in Rajkot.

Squads:

India’s updated squad for Sri Lanka T20Is: Hardik Pandya (Captain), Ishan Kishan (wk), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav (VC), Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Umran Malik, Shivam Mavi, Mukesh Kumar.

Sri Lanka’s squad for the India tour: Dasun Shanaka (C), Pathum Nissanka, Avishka Fernando, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Kusal Mendis (v-c for ODIs), Bhanuka Rajapaksa (only for T20Is), Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga (v-c for T20Is), Ashen Bandara, Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay (only for ODIs), Chamika Karunaratne, Dilshan Madushanka, Kasun Rajitha, Nuwanidu Fernando (only for ODIs), Dunith Wellalage, Pramod Madushan, Lahiru Kumara and Nuwan Thushara (only for T20I).



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