India romped home without breaking into a sweat against Ireland on Wednesday (June 27) as they defeated the hosts by 76 runs in the first of the two Twenty20 International series at the Malahide Cricket Club in Dublin. Chasing the visitor's tall 208 for 5, the home side could only get to 132 for 9 in their allotted 20 overs.
During the stern chase, the hosts were stifled by the two Indian wrist spinners who spun a web around Ireland and bamboozled them with their variations in the middle overs. While Yuzvendra Chahal (3 for 38) was thwacked for four sixes, three of them hit by James Shannon (60 off 35), Kuldeep Yadav was at his crafty best returning with career-best figures of 4 for 21. Playing his first international game in Ireland, the 23-year-old spinner varied his pace and got the ball to nip even on a pitch which was on the slower side.
Kuldeep displayed his entire repertoire as each of his wickets came off different balls - googly, topspin, flipper and his stock delivery. The best of the lot was the well-disguised flipper which saw the back of Shannon, who was beaten by the pace as he was shaping to play another sweep off Kuldeep. It is not only about the bag of tricks he has up his sleeves, it is also about the awareness and reading the mind of the batsman before dishing them out. His wrong-un has bewildered many batsmen and the Irish were no exception, who resorted to playing the sweep but without much success.
With a tough limited-overs tour of England impending, India will be pleased with Kuldeep's form. His expertise, along with Chahal's, will play a pivotal role against an England side which is oozing with confidence after a 5-0 triumph at home against Australia. In today's day and age, most spinners look to contain batsmen but Kuldeep's strength is to toss the ball up in order to buy wickets in the middle overs - a quality which Virat Kohli will rely on during the England tour which kick starts next month.