World Cup 2019: Why India need Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav to continue performing
The stellar performance of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal in India's opening match of World Cup 2019 against South Africa set the perfect tone for the Virat Kohli-led side in the tournament. It also showed how important a role the two spinners will play in the tournament.
The spin twins, fondly referred to as "KulCha", shared as many as 5 wickets between them while giving away just 97 runs in the 20 overs that they bowled. The South African batsmen were caught napping on the wrong foot as most of them failed to read the spin from the hand.
Chahal on his World Cup debut was the destroyer in chief as he finished with 4 wickets for 51 runs at an economy rate of 5.10. While Yadav might have got just the one wicket of JP Duminy, he tested the opposition batsmen to the core and conceded just 46 runs.
Cruical to India's chances in the World Cup
The one significant factor which has played a huge role in India's improved performance in the recent past has been the wicket-taking abilities of both the spinners - particularly when it comes to the middle overs in ODIs.
Earlier, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were not able to pick up enough wickets in the middle overs. But now all the signs are suggesting that teams which play the middle overs well are at an advantage.
It is also true at the same time that opposition batsmen have studied both Yadav and Chahal well over time and will look to negate their impact. But the two spinners remain India's biggest strength in the middle overs, when a wicket or two can change the whole complexion of a game.
Can "KulCha" live up to the early promise?
The South African batsmen struggled against the spin duo because they failed to read the ball off the hand and thus were late in reacting. Both Chahal and Yadav made the most of the Proteas' weakness against spin.
The performances of the two Indian spinners will definitely keep the think-tanks of all the other teams in the tournament interested. Batsmen will look to deny them wickets at any cost, and that will mean extensive planning and strategizing behind the scenes.
It is likely that teams will look to counter the duo in the coming matches with a clearer intent and positive frame of mind. The Southampton pitch may have assisted them against the Proteas, but can the spinners live up to their reputation on unfriendly wickets and against tougher lineups?
The next couple of matches will tell us a lot about their potential impact this World Cup.
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