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India vs Australia | India's Wrist Spinners Wrest Initiative in Middle Overs

Nikhil Narain |June 10, 2019, 1:38 PM IST
India vs Australia | India's Wrist Spinners Wrest Initiative in Middle Overs

India’s world-class spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav delivered a brilliant restrictive spell in the middle overs stifling the Australian batsmen. This eventually turned out to be the difference between the two sides as Australia fell well short of the 353-run chase going down by 36 runs handing India their second win of the tournament.

Much like their Indian counterparts (scored 41 in Powerplay 1), the Australian openers were off to a solid start and had scored 48 off the first 10 overs. Their plan clearly was to not lose a wicket to the Indian seamers and up the ante in the middle overs.

With 10 overs to get out of India’s fifth bowling combination of Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav, the pressure was on the Indian spin duo of Kuldeep and Chahal to contain the Australian batsmen.

And weren’t they at their miserly best!

Kuldeep was introduced in the 11th over with the required run rate above 7.5 per over. The left-arm wrist spinner showed tremendous control and character and bowled a restrictive line and length not letting the likes of David Warner, Aaron Finch and Steven Smith to get away.

India's Kuldeep Yadav

He went for 4, 6, 4, 4 and 7 and conceded just 25 runs in his first spell of 5 overs. He bowled as many as 10 dot deliveries and went for just one boundary in this spell. But Kuldeep wasn’t done. He returned to bowl in the 30th over and went for just 2 runs – when the required rate was above 9.5! He went for a further 6 and 8 runs in his next 2 overs.

Chahal was introduced in the 18th over (with the required rate above 8 per over). He went for 8, 5, 2, 7, 5, 4, 4 and 7 and was taken for just 42 runs in his first 8 overs. He bowled as many as 17 dot deliveries and went for just one boundary, also getting the wicket of Warner in this spell.

In effect, between overs 11 and 34, Kuldeep and Chahal bowled a total of 16 overs and gave away just 83 runs – at a phenomenal economy of 5.19!

By the end of the 34th over the run rate required had jumped to almost 11 and the likes of Glenn Maxwell and Alex Carey were left with too much to do at the death.

Chahal prised out the wicket of Maxwell in his 9th over – the 41st over of the Australian innings – and with it ended any realistic hope of an Australian victory.

India's Yuzvendra Chahal

Kuldeep and Chahal have a sensational record in the middle overs (overs 11-40) in ODI cricket since January 1, 2017. Kuldeep has picked 68 wickets at 24.12 apiece at a strike rate of 30.65 and economy of 4.72 while Chahal’s 52 wickets in this phase of play have come at an average of 28.1 at a strike rate of 34.21 and economy of 4.93.

Australia needed to maximize their middle overs but, courtesy some excellent bowling from Chahal and Kuldeep, could only mirror India and left too much for too late. They scored 190 runs between overs 10.1-40 (India had scored 195) but could not replicate India’s 116 in the final 10.

It was the economical spell of Chahal and Kuldeep in the middle overs which ultimately turned out to be the difference between the two teams in the match.

Australia could never unchain themselves from the stranglehold and control of India’s two wrist spinners. And that cost them the match.

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2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
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