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T20 World Cup 2024: Kuldeep Yadav's middle over strikes make him a potent weapon

T20 World Cup 2024: Kuldeep Yadav's impact in middle overs makes him a special weapon in Rohit Sharma's bowling arsenal. Kuldeep Yadav has taken 5 wickets from two games.

T20 World Cup 2024, IND vs BAN_ Kuldeep Yadav took 3-19 against Bangladesh in Super 8s game _ Walking Wicket (Source_ ©BCCI_X)
T20 World Cup 2024: Kuldeep Yadav took 3-19 against Bangladesh (Source: ©BCCI/X)

Kuldeep Yadav's journey in the T20 World Cup 2024 has been a tale of patience, adaptation and seizing opportunities when they finally arrive. Throughout the group stage, he remained on the sidelines, waiting for the right conditions and moments to showcase his prowess. However, once he entered the ground during the Super Eight stage in the Caribbean, Kuldeep made an immediate impact, reaffirming his reputation as a specialist on spin-friendly pitches.

In India's victory over Bangladesh at Antigua in the Super Eight stage, Kuldeep emerged as a crucial figure, claiming three crucial wickets for just 19 runs. This performance shows his ability to excel in conditions that suit his left-arm wrist spin, a skill set honed through years of experience and understanding of Caribbean pitches, where he had previously made his international debuts in 2017.

Ideal environment for Kuldeep

The decision to hold Kuldeep back until the Caribbean leg of the tournament was strategic, based on the belief that these pitches would provide him with the ideal environment to thrive. Despite being benched earlier due to conditions less favourable to spin in New York, Kuldeep remained focused and prepared. His patience paid off handsomely as he capitalised on the opportunity, contributing significantly to India's campaign.

Reflecting on his role, Kuldeep acknowledged the challenge of waiting for his chance but remained steadfast in his commitment to supporting the team in any capacity. "I was helping out the teammates and carrying the drinks [in the US]. That is more like playing," he remarked, highlighting his readiness to contribute whenever called upon.

T20 World Cup 2024_ Kuldeep Yadav during a practice session _ Walking Wicket (Source_ ©BCCI_X)
Kuldeep Yadav during a practice session (Source: ©BCCI/X)
Kuldeep in Super Eight matches

When finally entrusted with bowling duties in the Super Eight fixtures, Kuldeep showcased his skill and adaptability. Against Afghanistan, he picked up two wickets, setting the stage for his standout performance against Bangladesh. His ability to read the conditions and adjust his bowling accordingly, varying pace and length strategically, has been key to his success in the tournament.

Bowling from the Sir Andy Roberts End in Antigua, Kuldeep utilised the conditions effectively, exploiting the assistance offered to left-handed batters and using the wind to his advantage. His delivery of a fizzing googly that bamboozled Tanzid Hasan and subsequent dismissals of Towhid Hridoy and Shakib Al Hasan demonstrated his mastery of spin bowling under pressure.

Proven game-changer

Kuldeep Yadav has firmly established himself as a game-changer. His prowess as a left-arm spinner was evident in the IPL 2024, where he claimed 16 wickets in 11 matches at an economy rate of 8.70. Equally impressive were his performances in T20 Internationals last year, where he secured 14 wickets across nine games, boasting an economy rate of 5.97. These figures highlight his knack for picking up key wickets while keeping a tight rein on the run flow, showcasing his effectiveness in pivotal moments of the game.

Crucial middle overs

Despite the unusual scenario of making his first appearance in such a crucial stage of the T20 World Cup, Kuldeep maintained his composure and performed admirably. He emphasised the importance of staying focused and not letting external pressures affect his game. His ability to remain unfazed by varying game conditions underscores his maturity and confidence as a bowler.

Central to Kuldeep's success is his commitment to bowling the right lengths and varying his pace intelligently. He understands the nuances of T20 cricket, where aggression and adaptability are paramount. "For any spinner around the globe, the length matters a lot," Kuldeep explained, highlighting his approach to the game. His experience in the IPL and previous international outings has equipped him well for the challenges of high-stakes tournaments like the T20 World Cup.

Looking ahead, Kuldeep remains focused on the task at hand, recognising the upcoming challenges, including facing formidable opponents like Australia. His mindset remains clear: to approach each game with the same intensity and focus on executing his plans effectively. As he prepares for future matches, he remains a crucial asset for India, particularly on pitches where spinners play a pivotal role.

From patiently awaiting his opportunity to delivering match-winning performances when called upon, Kuldeep has demonstrated his value as a specialist spinner for India. His success in the Super Eight stage is a testament to his skill, adaptability, and ability to thrive under pressure. 


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