India’s first ODI win in South Africa after almost seven years came on the backdrop of a tremendous century by skipper Virat Kohliand a commendable bowling effort by spin twins Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. The Indian wristspinners bamboozled the Proteas batsmen and ran through the middle order to restrict South Africa to 269. The duo bowled a total of 20 overs and picked up 5 wickets and conceded a paltry 79 runs helping India draw first blood in the ODI series.
Particularly impressive was Kuldeep Yadav who picked up three wickets and tossed the ball up to the batsmen, drawing them forward and outfoxing with the googlies. On his first outing in South Africa, Kuldeep was also helped by the wise old man of team India, MS Dhoni. Reflecting on his performance, Kuldeep said, “Actually I was confused a bit what I should bowl because I am playing in South Africa for the first time and it was a new experience for me.” “The wind was good and the ball was drifting so I was confused what to bowl, and which variation to use. So I was asking Mahi bhai (Dhoni) and he told me ‘bowl as you are bowling’. It is good that he keeps advising from behind the wickets, it gets easier,” PTI quoted Yadav saying.
“When you have two legends, Virat (Kohli) and Mahi, one is leading the team and the other has led the team, it is helpful. As a spinner, Mahi bhai does 50 per cent of your work because he has played so much cricket, he reads the batsmen easily,” the spinner said at the post-match press conference.
Kuldeep’s spell was crucial to break the partnership between the du Plessis and Chris Morris. “There was a partnership going on. Faf du Plessis and Morris were playing well. If Morris had batted on for a few more overs, they could have reached 290 or even 300. At that time, we needed a wicket. I took the chance. I always think if I try to bowl to contain I will concede more runs,” he said.
The ability to pitch the ball upto the batsmen and give the extra flight in the limited format speaks volumes about his Yadav’s confidence. When asked where does it come from, Yadav said, “The mindset comes from the captain,” Kuldeep said. “The way Virat bhai talks, he always tells us one extra wicket is more important than trying to save 10 runs. If your captain tells you that, then you start believing yourself. We then back our strengths.”