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India vs West Indies: Chahar's Effective Opening Spell Sets the Tone for Win

Nikhil Narain |August 7, 2019, 12:52 PM IST
India vs West Indies: Chahar's Effective Opening Spell Sets the Tone for Win

Deepak Chahar’s brilliant opening spell at Providence– 3 overs, 1 maiden, 4 runs and 3 wickets – gave West Indies a major setback early in their innings and was instrumental in restricting them to a moderate total which was emphatically surpassed by the Indian batsmen after a minor hiccup, thereby taking India to a 3-0 series sweep.

Chahar shared the new ball with Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He kept Sunil Narine quiet mixing his line and length – from a slightly wider delivery outside off to a yorker - both angling away from the left-hander, he got one back and caught Narine on the crease. Three dot balls, no runs. Narine went for a cross-batted slog but got the toe end of the bat and perished for 2 off 6 deliveries.

Chahar struck off the very first delivery off his second over – the fourth of the innings – as he got one to jag back into Evin Lewis and had him plumb leg before wicket – it was a fantastic delivery by the right-armer. The ball was going away from the left-hander before it suddenly changed direction and came back in off the pitch.

He greeted Kieron Pollard with two yorkers before trapping Shimron Hetmyer in front of the stumps to another delivery which was angled across but came back in sharply to bamboozle the batsman. It was a double-wicket maiden!

West Indies were in tatters at 14 for 3 after 3.5 overs.

Chahar had bowled 12 deliveries, conceded just 3 runs and picked the top 3 of the West Indian line up.

He then bowled the last over of the powerplay to arguably one of the best hitters of the cricket ball in the format – a yorker followed by three deliveries on or outside the off stump at varied lengths – all dot balls. He only conceded a single of the over and ended a magical spell of swing bowling.

Chahar’s ability to bowl yorkers, angle the ball across and get it back in extracting movement off the pitch and bowling a disciplined line and length in the corridor of uncertainty stood out.

He bowled as many as 15 dot balls of a total of 18 balls bowled. There were no boundary balls neither did he concede any extras.

Chahar was also brilliantly restrictive with an economy rate of 1.33. The average economy rate of the other bowlers was 8.12 with Bhuvneshwar (with an economy of 6.33) being the next most economical bowler.

It was the second-most economical spell by an Indian bowler in T20I cricket (min. 3 overs bowled) after Bhuvneshwar against West Indies in the World T20 in Dhaka.

Chahar had an excellent IPL 2019 – he was the third-highest wicket taker of the tournament with 22 wickets in 17 matches at 21.9 apiece at a strike rate of 17.5 and economy rate of 7.47.

As in Providence, his ability to make inroads with the new ball stood out in the IPL too. He picked 15 wickets at an average of 24.47 and strike rate of just 20 in the powerplay. His economy of 7.34 with the fielding restrictions was also quite impressive.

Chahar has a fine record in T20 cricket. He has picked 70 wickets in 60 matches at an average of 22.32 and strike rate of 18.2 – showcasing his wicket-taking prowess in the format. He has also been very restrictive with an economy rate of just 7.35.

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