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Turning Point: Umesh's Opening Spell

March 27, 2022 09:47 IST
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IMAGE: Umesh Yadav celebrates CSK Opener Devon Conway's wicket in IPL 2022's opening game at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on Saturday, March 26, 2022. Photograph: BCCI

Umesh Yadav nearly didn't make it to IPL 2022 after going unsold twice at the players's auction before he got third time lucky when he was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for his base price of Rs 2 crore (Rs 20 million).

And it was Umesh, who played a big part in helping KKR get off to a winning start as they beat defending champions Chennai Super Kings by six wickets in the opening match of IPL 2022 in Mumbai on Saturday.

Umesh, who was part of KKR's IPL winning team in 2014, didn't get a single game for Delhi Capitals last year, while featuring in just two games in IPL 2020.

With Pat Cummins yet to join KKR, it opened up a rare opportunity for Umesh to feature in the playing XI. And he made sure to grab the opportunity with both hands.

He may have started his spell with a no ball and then sent down a wide, but it was not long before he struck with the wicket of opener Ruturaj Gaikwad (0) to deal CSK a big blow. He bowled a perfect delivery outside the off-stump, getting the new ball to swing away as Gaikwad went for the slash, but got the edge and was caught by Nitish Rana at first slip.

The pacer also bowled a tight line and length to Devon Conway, not giving him anything to break free. It was not long before the Kiwi attempted to hit over the top, but ended up holing out to KKR Skipper Shreyas Iyer at mid-on.

Umesh's opening spell left CSK in complete disarray. He took 2/12 in three overs in his first spell to leave CSK struggling on 35/2 in six overs.

Even though Mahendra Singh Dhoni (50 not out) and Ravindra Jadeja (26) rallied CSK to 131/5 with a few late boundaries, the total was never enough to challenge KKR's power-packed batting line-up as they cruised to an easy six wicket win.

Fittingly, Umesh picked up all four match awards presented at the end of the game.

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