India’s opening game of the ICC World Cup 2019 against South Africa saw both Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal once again bowl well in tandem to trouble the Proteas at Southampton on Wednesday (June 5).
Put in to bowl first after Faf du Plessis won the toss, Kuldeep (1-46) and Chahal (4-51) took 5 wickets between them to ensure South Africa could only post 227-9 in the first innings.
Chahal got the ball rolling in the 20th over, dismissing both Rassie van der Dussen and Du Plessis. The former attempted a reverse sweep shot but missed out completely and was cleaned up.
Du Plessis, who looked uncomfortable against Kuldeep early on, couldn’t read a slider from Chahal and the ball went through his defence and onto his stumps.
Kuldeep, whose form had been poor during the IPL 2019, then accounted for JP Duminy with a ball that he pushed through the air faster than usual. Duminy was trapped plumb and even a review couldn’t save him.
South Africa had begun to rebuild from the early wobbles when Chahal struck again, this time removing David Miller when the southpaw played one straight back to him.
He then got his fourth wicket of the match when Andile Phehlukwayo decided to charge down the stumps in attempt to up the scoring rate but was stumped by Dhoni.
The four-wicket haul for Chahal was the fourth time that Chahal has bagged four wickets in ODIs – three of which have happened against South Africa.
Kuldeep and Chahal had troubled South Africa during the Freedom Trophy ODI series in 2018 as well. The six-match ODI series saw the wrist spinners take a combined 33 wickets – Kuldeep got 17 and Chahal took 16.
To put in context just how dominant the spin duo were in that series, the next highest wicket-taker after them was Jasprit Bumrah – with 8 wickets.
The two were also among the top three individual spells during that innings - Kuldeep's 4-23 sandwiched between spells of 5-22 and 4-46 from Chahal at first and third, respectively.
They were at their brutal best as a pair during the third ODI at Cape Town when they took 8 out of 10 South African wickets to hand India a thumping 124-run victory and their wickets were a key part of India's 5-1 series victory.