BY NIHARIKA RAINA
New Delhi– On a pitch with moisture at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi, left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav made merry with his variations and pace to lead the way for India’s demolition job of South Africa, outplaying the visitos’ by seven wickets to take the series 2-1.
Introduced from only the 20th over in the innings, Kuldeep bamboozled the South Africa lower-order batters in such a way that they crashed to 99 all out in 27.1 overs, the lowest total ever recorded at this venue. Eventually, he was named ‘Player of the Match’ in India’s seven-wicket win.
“Feeling very happy, to be honest. The wicket was perfect and I am enjoying my bowling. I am not thinking too much about the result, just focusing on the process and focusing on my rhythm. I am trying to bowl in good areas. My next target is to perform well in the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament,” said Kuldeep in the post-match presentation ceremony.
Kuldeep cramped all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo for room with his googly turning in and took the inner edge to hit the stumps. He then trapped Bjorn Fortuin lbw and rattled Anrich Nortje’s off-stump on back-to-back deliveries in a maiden 26th over.
Fittingly, he ended South Africa’s misery as Marco Jansen slog-swept to a deep backward square leg, adding another chapter to a glorious run that began by taking 21 wickets for Delhi Capitals in IPL 2022. Though he missed the hat-trick as Lungi Ngidi negotiated it, Kuldeep was happy with his performance.
“It was perfect. It’s been going well since the IPL. Today, I missed the hat-trick but it was still great. Maybe I could have gone over the wicket but thinking too much can make it go away. (Mohammed) Siraj, Avesh (Khan) and others bowled well,” added the left-arm wrist-spinner.
Kuldeep had been hampered by injuries to his knee and hand in the last one year. But every time he has taken the field, he has emerged stronger than ever, adding more and strengthening his plus points.
“The wicket (in New Delhi) was gripping. I mixed up the pace and set the batters with the fields. I was working on my rhythm in the past few months. I was a bit slower but quickened up post-injury. But haven’t lost the spin, the rhythm has been the focus.”
Truly, Tuesday’s performance was an illustration of what Kuldeep can do at his best. (IANS)