Kings XI Punjab's left arm spinner Axar Patel, who recorded the first hat-trick of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), on Monday said he is reaping the rewards for bowling slower through the air.Patel's four wickets in five balls for his franchise helped break the backbone of their opponent Gujarat Lions’ batting on Sunday. The Kings XI won the match by 23 runs as Gujarat only managed to get to 131/9 while chasing a 155-run target.Patel took 4/21 in his four overs to fashion the team's victory.“Before the IPL, I was working on my flight. I worked on bowling slower through the air, so when a batsman comes down the track, I can bowl outside the off stump and beat him in flight,” Patel was quoted as saying by the iplt20.com on Monday.“Generally, batsmen stay rooted to the crease and play the cut shot off my bowling. So, this is the variation I have worked on and wanted to get it right.”Patel also said that this was his best ever bowling performance and winning the game made it more special to him.
“This has been my best bowling performance. I was just trying to do what I did in IPL-7. I was focusing on bowling in the right areas as that is something that had worked for me earlier,” he said."I had never taken a hat-trick in my career before, so it feels really special that I got the milestone at this level. The fact that we won the game and my efforts have resulted in a win makes it even more special.”“This was an important win for us. We needed a breakthrough. All of us felt that we needed just one win to get going. Now, our morale is up and there is confidence within the team,” he added.Out of the four scalps he bagged on Sunday, Patel said he relished West Indian Dwayne Smith’s dismissal the most.“Getting Dwayne Smith’s wicket was very important. He has been in terrific form with Brendon McCullum. I was worried that if he gets going like he did against Delhi Daredevils (53 off 30) and against Rising Pune Supergiants (63 off 37), it would put us in trouble,” he said.
“I was happy that I got his wicket.”