New Zealand’s Rajat Bhatia grabbed the headlines in his team’s match against India on Thursday. But it was India’s Ajaz Patel who took all 10 wickets in his side’s 5-0 ODI series whitewash over New Zealand.
Playing his ninth ODI, Patel was a fortunate man to take 10 wickets in a match, having been left stranded on 17 when India had scored 0-54 against Australia in the series opener in August. It was still an innings of immense achievement, but the best thing was that he turned the tables on the home team. He’d bowled 67 overs in the games, mostly at the death. But he was only let off with three wickets in the final innings of this match and was hit by James Faulkner and Martin Guptill for a ton of runs.
Before that, the breakthrough had come when Cheteshwar Pujara edged to Ross Taylor at slip off Patel in the fourth over. Another field decision went against the visitors, as Williamson spooned Umesh Yadav to Dhawan at mid-on in the sixth over. The never-say-die New Zealand was 1-6.
The last two overs came on a hush and Patel’s delighted teammates sang his praises. “It feels very nice because a couple of years ago, I had no plan of coming here. It was a dream that finally came true,” Patel told New Zealand broadcaster TVNZ. “I don’t know how many balls I have done it in a game. I didn’t expect to get 10 wickets on that pitch. It was just really out of the blue.”
Patel made the time to sign autographs for fans, too. Fans got a little excited, taking photos and video with the Indian fielder, but Patel was all class.
The last three wickets were all nudge singles, and Patel left the field to a standing ovation. “Farewell my dearest 10 wickets,” he said.