While it was the in-form Robin Uthappa who delivered with the bat, Umesh Yadav’s containment of the KXIP batsmen was instrumental in sending KKR to their second IPL final in three years.
Before Wednesday’s encounter against the on-song KXIP, Sunil Narine and Morne Morkel were being touted as the biggest threats to the swashbuckling KXIP batting line-up. The Kings XI Punjab batsmen had tormented bowlers all through the tournament’s group stage and hence it was crucial for Morkel and Narine to bring their A-game to the 1st Qualifier of the 2014 IPL. Surely, KXIP would have prepared to take on the dynamic duo. What they probably wouldn’t have counted on was an inspired (and ultimately match winning) bowling display by Umesh Yadav.
Yadav had had a below-par season leading up to the game; 7 wickets from 10 games at an economy of over 8 runs per over. He had strayed in line and his variations hadn’t quite worked in his team’s favour. But all of that changed at The Eden Gardens, as Umesh bowled perhaps his best spell ever. His figures were impressive enough: 4-0-13-3. But what was far more impressive was his approach to the task at hand.
He never allowed the batsmen to settle. Dismissing the dangerous Sehwag early would have been on top of KKR’s priority list and Umesh did just that. He looked much more in control and his line-length was spot on throughout. Glenn Maxwell has looked a shadow of his former self in the past few games and Umesh took full advantage of Maxi’s jittery form and trapped him leg-before before he could do any damage. In the final over of the game, Umesh had 30 runs to defend and did so with efficiency, conceding only a single while picking up the wicket of George Bailey.
It was quite a show from the Vidarbha speedster, who was rightly adjudged Man of the Match for his stellar show with the ball which restricted Punjab to a mere 135/8. Successfully executed variations, good shape on the ball and consistency in hitting the right areas meant that Umesh carried out KKR’s plan of cramping the KXIP batsmen to perfection. This was the main reason for everyone’s surprise at the exclusion of Yadav from India’s squad for the upcoming tour of England, where his pace and ability to generate late swing would have come in handy.
Regardless, Umesh has managed to steer his side to the final of IPL 2014. He will need to put his best foot forward once again, in one last push, as his side look to claim their second title in three years. It will be either KXIP or CSK who challenge KKR for the title in Bengaluru on June 1. It could be the perfect stage for Umesh Yadav to show everyone just what Team India will be missing in England in the near future.Share this post