Top IPL wicket-taker Chahal keeps foxing batters with magic and mystery field placements. Yuzvendra Chahal has taken 187 wickets from 144 games in IPL history.
In this modern age of cricket where batters have taken the upper hand mostly by smashing almost every delivery all around the park by reducing their fear of getting dismissed, it’s extraordinary to sit at the top of the wicket list with a low economy, especially for a spinner like Yuzvendra Chahal who has spent most of his Indian Premier League (IPL) journey at the batting paradise named M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.
Chahal is not an ordinary spinner and one may need to watch him closely to truly appreciate his genius skills. Fooling the batters continuously seems to be his bread and butter trade. Amidst all the attention grabbed by the fours and sixes by young Yashasvi Jaiswal’s fastest IPL fifty against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Chahal became the tournament’s highest wicket-taker with 187 scalps in 144 games at an economy of 7.65, going ahead Dwayne Bravo’s 183 IPL wickets.
A look at his IPL journey will speak how Chahal has constructed himself over the years while maintaining high standards.
From practicing in sugarcane yards to foxing batters: Chahal’s journey towards the top
After a few impressive first-class games, 21-year-old Haryana leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal earned his maiden IPL contract in 2011 for Mumbai Indians. The franchise didn’t give him many matches, for which he went into the auction pool for the 2014 edition of the IPL, where Chahal was picked for INR 10 lakh by the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). It turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Chahal who played an integral part in their bowling line-up.
From his early days where he used to travel to the nearby sugarcane yards just to practice leg spin on the cement turfs, Chahal suddenly became RCB captain Virat Kohli’s go-to man. Even though he began the season well in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2014, once the tournament returned to India, he couldn’t get many wickets, but remained economical throughout the season. He was also a contender for the ‘Emerging Player of the Year’ award but he lost out to Axar Patel in the end.
Since then at that batting paradise and small ground of M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Chahal picked 139 wickets at an economy of 7.58 for RCB before reaching the auction table in 2022 where Rajasthan Royals (RR) signed him for INR 6.50 crore. In his maiden season for RR, he earned the purple cap with 27 wickets in 17 games and still continues to do wonders for the pink army.
A look at the numbers of Chahal against different opponents at various grounds
A smart operator with a big heart - two of the features that paint a portrait of Yuzvendra Chahal. Generally, he loves to keep the ball in the stump line to not give the batters any freedom or space but he’s never afraid of giving the ball little air and throwing it away from the reach of the batters. The way Chahal varies his pace is another excellent skill that a very few bowlers have.
Let’s take a look at how he has played against different opponents and at different grounds.
It’s a different challenge for players to play in different conditions and given it happens in a space of few days, it takes huge skill to adapt to the different dimension of the various grounds. Let’s take a look at how Chahal has performed in dissimilar stadiums.
Arun Jaitley Stadium
Narendra Modi Stadium
Sawai Mansingh Stadium
Rajiv Gandhi Stadium
United Arab Emirates
Among all the spinners who have taken 100 or more wickets in the IPL, Yuzvendra Chahal has the best strike rate, i.e., 16.84. He has also played fewer games than Piyush Chawla, Amit Mishra, Ravichandran Ashwin, Sunil Narine, Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja, and he has more wickets than all of them.
Let’s scan his top three performances and break the fact of how he has turned the game.
5/40 vs Kolkata Knight Riders, 2022
The game against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai during IPL 2022 displayed how determined Chahal has been in making a comeback in between a game. Chasing 218 in 20 overs, KKR went off to a flying start reaching 167/4 in 15 overs as Chahal was belted all around the park for 38 runs in his first three overs including the wicket of Nitish Rana. But when he was recalled for his last over, KKR needed just 41 runs in four overs.
On the first ball of the 17th over, Chahal sent back Venkatesh Iyer before caging Shreyas Iyer plumb before the stumps, three balls later. On the very next ball, he dismissed Shivam Mavi before Sanju Samson grabbed an excellent catch as Yuzvendra Chahal picked his maiden and the 21st hat-trick in IPL. From 1/38 in three overs, Chahal finished with 5/40 to carry RR to a seven-run victory.
3/16 vs Kolkata Knight Riders, 2017
Even though the game was famous because of that unfortunate record of lowest IPL score of 49 by RCB at the Eden Gardens in 2017, Chahal claimed three crucial wickets.
Chahal began sending back Yusuf Pathan before registering the wicket of Manish Pandey who flicked the tossed-up delivery straight to the midwicket fielder. Finally, he drew Colin de Grandhomme forward to find the edge that ended in the hands of the slip fielder. Chahal returned with figures of 3/16 in four overs.
4/29 vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, 2023
Chahal has been in really good touch in this ongoing 2023 IPL and he showed another outstanding performance against Sunrisers Hyderabad. In his very first over, he recorded the wicket of Anmolpreet Singh before managing the huge wicket of Heinrich Klassen who miscued a shot as the tossed-up ball ended in the hands of the long-off fielder. He picked two more wickets of Aiden Markram and Rahul Tripathi to finish on 4/29 in four overs in a game where more than 200 was chased thanks to a no ball on the last ball.
Yuzvendra Chahal has kept on evolving as a bowler over the years and the batters have failed to give answers to all his tricks. And he will love to carry the same momentum in the last few games of the IPL and the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 for India.
Chahal will be in action next for Rajasthan Royals (RR) who will play their last league game of the IPL 2023 against Punjab Kings on May 19 at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala. They need to win that game desperately to earn any chance for the playoffs spot.