Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal flounder in the wet vs South Africa | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal flounder in the wet vs South Africa

Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal struggled in wet conditions in the Johannesburg ODI against South Africa as Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team rued two missed chances off David Miller.

cricket Updated: Feb 11, 2018 19:41 IST
Khurram Habib
Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal struggled for grip in the wet conditions as South Africa stayed alive in the contest with a five-wicket win in Johannesburg
Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal struggled for grip in the wet conditions as South Africa stayed alive in the contest with a five-wicket win in Johannesburg(AP)

It would have been tough to be in Virat Kohli’s shoes on Saturday evening after South Africa returned from the rain break to bat again in the fourth ODI at the Wanderers.

The India skipper had to constantly wipe the wet ball as it was becoming difficult to grip, not only for the fielders but also for his wrist spinners, who had up until the fourth ODI run through the South Africa batting in every game.

India twice missed opportunities to dismiss David Miller. In the 18th over bowled by leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, the South African all-rounder, who had struggled in the series, was dropped by Shreyas Iyer in the deep. Three balls later the leggie trapped him in front but had overstepped. At that point, the hosts needed almost 100 runs from 10 overs with no specialist batsman left in the dugout.

MILLER CASHES IN

Once Miller got those lives, he made India pay, hitting them, and along with newcomer Heinrich Klaasen, the wicketkeeper playing in only his second game, taking his team close to the finish line. Both were particularly severe on the spinners.

No wonder Virat Kohli was upset. “Our guys didn’t settle in the second half. No balls are fine lines,” he said of Chahal overstepping. “South Africa deserved to win, we didn’t.”

Dhawan said the wet outfield made it hard for the spinners, blaming it for the loss.

However, despite the spinners getting thrashed by Miller and Klaasen, and later by Andile Phehlukwayo, Virat Kohli failed to call up pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, who both looked the best of the lot. Bumrah had gone for just over four an over while picking a wicket and had one over left. Bhuvneshwar, who went under seven runs, had two left. The spinners went for 12.4 and 8.5.

Klaasen was surprised Kohli didn’t bring on the seamers.

“David and I thought they would have kept them at the back-end for two overs each,” he said.

RUNS FOR WICKETS

In the past, Kohli had said he wants to give his spinners a free hand. He doesn’t mind their going for runs as long as they pick wickets, and they had been delivering. On Saturday though, they failed to get wickets, unlucky and due to improvisation by South African batsmen. Klaasen and Dhawan agreed Kohli was not entirely wrong in persisting with them.

“I think how this series went led them to bowling their spinners for the remaining overs. But I was very surprised,” said Klaasen.

Dhawan said, “The captain thought they were taking chances against the spinners. At that time, we needed wickets. Because the wicket was such and the ground was wet, we couldn’t have won by just stopping runs. Wickets were important. You take risks, sometimes they pay off, sometimes they don’t.”

Klaasen’s approach, somewhat similar to AB de Villiers’, clicked.

By staying at the crease and playing improvised strokes, he left Chahal and Kuldeep shocked. To the extremely wide delivery by Chahal, which has got Australian Glenn Maxwell many times, Klaasen shuffled way outside off and pulled it to the square leg fence.

“On that wide line, he got a lot of turn and bounce, so to run down the wicket was quite a high-risk shot. I do like over extra-cover, but my option was maybe from the back foot over extra cover, or the one over square-leg. Those were my options for the boundary. I chose the latter.”

Kohli felt though his bowlers did flounder, it was the improvised stroke-play that carried the Proteas home.