Kuldeep Yadav has shown that he is a vital asset to Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team as they build momentum for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. They have already made big strides, registering a bilateral ODI series win in Australia for the first time while in the series against New Zealand, they are on the cusp of a series win for the first time in 10 years. In the first two games, India has put in a clinical performance with both bat and ball. With the bat, Shikhar Dhawan has been the star. Among the bowlers, Mohammed Shami and Kuldeep Yadav have been sensational. The efforts of Kuldeep, though, are worth mentioning as his chinaman has flummoxed New Zealand in both Napier and Bay Oval ODIs.
After picking up 4/39 in the Napier ODI, Kuldeep ended with figures of 4/45 in 10 overs as India won by 90 runs. After Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Kedar Jadhav and Yuzvendra Chahal chipped in with wickets at vital times, it was the turn of Kuldeep to once again run through the lower-middle order. The left-armer trapped Tom Latham LBW for 28 with a flighted delivery. Henry Nicholls slogged a flighted delivery to be out caught for 34 while Colin de Grandhomme miscued the slog sweep to be caught at deep midwicket for 3 by Ambati Rayudu. Ish Sodhi was bowled round his legs first ball and he narrowly missed the hat-trick. Although he was carted around the park by Doug Bracewell, he still finished with superb bowling figures.
Kuldeep’s two consecutive four wicket hauls made him the first spinner to take two consecutive four-wicket hauls in ODIs in New Zealand. This has also taken his tally of four-wicket hauls to five in just 37 ODIs, level with Harbhajan Singh who achieved it in 234 matches. Anil Kumble heads the list with 12 four-wicket hauls from 269 ODIs. Kuldeep is one of the three Indian bowlers to take a hat-trick in ODIs after Chetan Sharma and Kapil Dev, having achieved the feat against Australia in 2017 in Kolkata.
The 90-run win was India’s biggest in terms of runs in ODIs in New Zealand, having won by 84 runs in the Hamilton ODI in 2009. A win on Monday at the same venue will give India a series win in New Zealand after 10 years.