"It pumps me up - the whole idea of the bowler marking his run-up, popping at the crease, the crowd chanting, nerves building up. It's a very good feeling. Right from the first ball, I know I have to be at the top of my game" - Rohit Sharma
The above quote by India's premier batsman Rohit Sharma, reflects the very poetic nature of cricket, especially in the context of a T20 match. Ever since the 1st T20 match was played between English sides Durham and Nottinghamshire in 2003, its exponential rise has brought a new degree of freshness with itself.
The fast-paced nature succeeded in establishing an instant connection with the fans. However, as cricket experts have debated about the pros and cons of the format, one of the major aspects of T20 cricket is that since the advent of this format, many psychological barriers have been broken. Players, be it, batsmen or bowlers, both were exposed to a new set of challenges.
While it seems like a valid inference to make that the 20-overs format is more favourable towards the batsman, it would be wrong to completely accept it that way. Sure, the bowlers are not exactly favoured much, yet it led to some new innovations resulting in some of the finest creative strategies and magical variations to put the batsmen in hot waters.
There are numerous such instances when a bowler has single-handedly changed the course of a match with his/her performances in what is perceived as a "batsman's game".
In general, 2018 has been a good year for bowlers in the shorter format, be it international matches or T20 tournaments like the IPL. Young bowlers like Rashid Khan, Sandeep Lamichhane, and Kuldeep Yadav have brought in clever strategies and innovative variations to bamboozle their oppositions.
In this piece, we'll take a look at the top 5 spells in T20I matches of 2018 so far:
#5 Kuldeep Yadav (4-1-21-4 vs Ireland)
The 1st T20 encounter between India and Ireland earlier in the month of June saw India decimate the Irish by an impressive 76 runs. Batting first, the Indian team registered a huge score of 208 runs, courtesy of phenomenal knocks of 97 and 74 by the openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan respectively.
In reply, except for the talented opener James Shannon (who played a terrific knock of 60), no other batsman could read India's spinning duo of Kuldeep and Chahal. Kuldeep, in particular, proved to be extremely effective on the flat wicket at Dublin.
The left-armer constantly utilized good-length leg breaks and wrong'uns to keep the Irish batting line-up at bay. He ended up picking 4 wickets including the prized ones of James Shannon and Simi Singh.