World Cup 2019: India's spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal are too hot to handle
Rohit Sharma's century notwithstanding, it was India's wrist spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, who bowled brilliantly in tandem to ensure the South African middle-order could not get going on Wednesday
It was a typical English day. The sun hardly made an appearance. A stiff breeze was blowing across the Ageas Bowl. The conditions were ideal for the pacemen to make life miserable for batsmen, like Jasprit Bumrah did with his opening spell against South Africa. Yet, there was a different battle within the battle that Team India won hands down. It was fascinating to see a couple of wrist spinners on either side striving to beat rival batsmen. Despite cloudy conditions, India deployed Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav while South Africa went in with Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi.
Pitch offered no turn
As there was not much turn in the Southampton strip, it was the guile of the bowlers that mattered. And it was the Indian duo who excelled, picking up five wickets between them to restrict the South African batting in the middle overs which proved decisive in the end. After two defeats and only 13 fit players to chose from, SA had little option but to play both spinners, leggie Imran and chinaman Tabraiz, more in the hope that they would trouble the Indian batsman bowling together. But being excellent players of spin, the Indians were refused to throw away the advantage their bowlers had earlier provided. On the other hand, India's decision to go in with both their wrist spinners was more to do with the SA batsmen's weakness in tackling spin. With the Proteas already low on confidence, India's aim was to put them under pressure in the middle overs with the spin twins bowling in tandem.
Varying flight and pace
Chahal, the most successful bowler (4-51), hailed Bumrah (2-35) who removed both the SA openers with his incisive opening spell. "After Bumrah got the openers cheaply, it was upon us spinners to not let go of the early advantage. When I saw the batsmen uncomfortable and trying to hit their way out of trouble, I varied my pace and flight to keep them guessing," Chahal said. As for Kuldeep (1-46), he knew his was a supporting role. "Chahal has a knack of picking up wickets. It's my role to provide support by keeping the batsmen quiet at the other end."
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