Indian spinner Kuldeep Yadav picked up four wickets against Ireland, his career best figures of 4/21 in this format. But the chinaman bowler credited Indian batsmen who set up the victory for them.
India thrashed Ireland by a big margin of 76 runs and it was Kuldeep and Yuzvendra Chahal's spin which entangled the hosts and made the target of 209 tough.
Chasing a huge total of 209, except for James Shannon's 60 off 35, no Irish batsmen looked comfortable and eventually they could only manage 132 for 9 in 20 overs.
Batting first, Indian openers, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma piled up a 160-run partnership scoring a half century each. In fact, Rohit fell just 3 runs short of his 3rd T20I hundred.
Crediting batsmen for the win, Kuldeep said, “Once we have such a great start with the bat, it becomes much easier. Especially for a spinner, the bigger the target he has to bowl at, the easier it is because there is more freedom to try out variations. In that sense, having 200 runs on board was a blessing for us.”
Kuldeep was picked as Man of the Match for his performance. He and Chahal picked seven wickets together. “It was one of those days when the ball landed exactly where I wanted it to land, and because the wicket was slow and it was turning big, there was not a lot they could do,” revealed Kuldeep. “We trained in similar conditions so it has become easier for us.”
Kuldeep also spoke about the much bigger challenge ahead in England. “This is the first game of the season so I don’t think we can say this is how it will be going forward. This pitch was like that and it helped us but we can’t be certain this is how all the pitches will be here on,” explained the chinaman.
When asked why Ireland was unable to tackle the spinners, Kuldeep said: “I think they played very well when there was pace on offer. Once we started varying our pace, they couldn’t do much because they aren’t used to bowlers like us in these conditions. They don’t have the necessary footwork to play spinners. The more they play bowlers like us in these conditions, the better they will get.”
(With the inputs of Wisden India)