Going into the tournament, fans and experts had identified a handful of players who would go to play a crucial role in Team India's campaign at the ICC World Cup. The first and most obvious candidate is of course captain Virat Kohli whose batting prowess and leadership skills are expected to get his team all the way.
Amongst other probables who were expected to make a mark, Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal were also looked upon as key players for India. While everyone expected Bumrah to do the damage with his searing pace and precision in line and lengths early on, Chahal was bestowed with the responsibility of doing the damage with his cunning variations in the middle order - a script that dictated South Africa's fate in their clash in Southampaton on 5th June.
Winning the toss and deciding to bat, the Proteas were, to an extent, conned into believing that the conditions were suited for batting and posting a formidable total upfront. But, popular to contrary perception, the South African batting unit was picked apart by a spectacular show from Bumrah and Chahal.
It all began in the fourth over, when Bumrah's tight angle got Hashim Amla (6) stuck into a stop-shot, eventually forcing an outside edge that went straight into the hands of Rohit Sharma at second slip. In his next over, Bumrah's cunning plan - with adequate support from Kohli - led to the dismissal of Quinton de Kock (10).
With their side reeling at 24/2, South Africa needed a strong partnership which eventually came through the efforts of and Faf du Plessis (38) and Rassie van der Dussen (22). With the two Proteas batsmen rebuilding their innings by adding 54 runs for the third wicket, India needed to counter the potential threat. And, that's when Chahal's spin wizardry came to the fore.
In what arguably turned out to be one of the deliveries of the tournament, Chahal's drift and rip on the ball turned Van der Dussen into a laughing stock after his reverse-sweep led to a dismissal. It was undeniably a vital breakthrough, but Chahal wasn't done yet. In fact, the Indian leg-spinner had another gem of a delivery up his sleeves for opposition captain Du Plessis who was outfoxed in a classic spinner's dismissal.
June 5, 2019
June 5, 2019
At the other end, his spin-bowling partner Kuldeep Yadav, too, joined the party and dismissed JP Duminy (3) in the 23rd over after wrapping him in front of the stumps. Though Duminy went for the review, but even the DRS couldn't save him following his poor shot-selection.
Despite two wickets in his kitty, Chahal's breakthrough act continued as he once again helped his side in breaking the partnership. David Miller (31) and Andile Phehlukwayo (34) had added 46 runs for the sixth wicket when Chahal removed the former in a simple caught and bowled dismissal in the 36th over.
Few overs later, Chahal struck again to send Phehlukwayo back into the hut after foxing him in the length to allow MS Dhoni to complete a regulation stumping. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, too, got his name under the wickets column after claiming the scalps of Chris Morris (42) and Imran Tahir (0) in the final over as the Proteas crumbled to 227/9 in 50 overs.
While every Indian bowler contributed in their own way, it was undoubtedly Bumrah and Chahal whose impressive figures of 2-35 and 4-51 respectively earned them plaudits from fans and pundits alike.
Fantastic effort by the bowlers to restrict South Africa to 227. Bumrah began exceptionally and the wrist spinners capitalised, Chahal was superb in his 10 overs and I back India to chase down this total. #INDvSA— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) June 5, 2019
Jasprit Bumrah is simply sensational.— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) June 5, 2019
June 5, 2019
June 5, 2019
Boom Boom Bumrah on ð¥ @Jaspritbumrah93 A great start!— Wriddhiman Saha (@Wriddhipops) June 5, 2019
Chahal looking good. Making it easier for his mate, Kuldeep, to rediscover form.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) June 5, 2019