Pakistan were comfortably placed at 117-1, and the two Pakistani batsman Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam were going great guns and India needed someone to stand up and take wickets. Kuldeep Yadav was is the middle of a long spell, and had kept the Pakistan Batsman under control. Then in the 23rd Over Kuldeep produced a moment of magic, as he completely outfoxed the Pakistan number 3 Babar Azam completely and made a mess off his stumps.
Babar was set at 48 and was probably looking to score his fifty, he had been mistiming his shots against Kuldeep in the innings and then decided to play him cautiously. The moment Kuldeep released the ball from his hand, it looked like the perfect delivery. There was Dip, Drift, Flight and spin to which Babar was absolutely clueless. It was his Stock delivery which pitched and turned back sharply and was right through the gap between the pad and the bat.
26 years after Shane Warne’s ball of the century at Old Trafford to Mike Gatting, Kuldeep gave his idol a fitting tribute in the intense clash of India and Pakistan. It had all the features of the delivery that the legendary Warne bowled in that Ashes test match at Old Trafford. Kuldeep who unlike Warne is a left arm wrist spinner produced a beauty that reminded everyone of Shane Warne’s magical delivery at the same venue.
According to Cricbiz, Kuldeep’s delivery turned 5.8 degrees, that deceived Pakistan’s premier batsman Babar Azam. Azam was beaten on the inside edge completely and was unable to understand the trajectory of the ball. The batsman was probably surprised by the vicious turn that Kuldeep was able to get on a fairly flat wicket at Old Trafford. Whereas, Warne’s delivery, on the other hand, turned around 14 degrees.
After the Wrist spinner dislodged Babar, it was the turn of opening batsman Fakhar Zaman. Kuldeep again flighted the delivery well outside off stump and enticed Zaman to play the slog sweep. He top-edged the sweep shot to Chahal at short fine that completely dented Pakistan’s run chase. The two back to back strikes of Kuldeep had virtually sealed the contest for India. India went on to beat Pakistan again in the World Cup and made it 7-0.
Kuldeep was questioning himself as to why he has not been picking wickets in recent times. The 24-year-old had a dismal IPL season and was dropped by his franchise KKR midway through the IPL. He picked only four wickets in 9 matches at an economy rate of over 8 runs per over. However, India would be pleased about the fact that the dip of form was just a momentary blip, and Kuldeep is back to his best in the World Cup. The Skipper Virat Kohli was all praise for his wicket-taker in the post-match presentation as he stated: “ This is the best Kuldeep has bowled so far in the World cup “.
Comparing Warne and Kuldeep’s delivery would not be fair as Warne was the ultimate craftsman, that produced astonishing deliveries time after time again in his illustrious career. But Kuldeep should be proud of his performance and would be looking to impress everyone with his bag full of tricks in the rest of the World Cup matches.