BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - India’s Kedar Jadhav had six career wickets in one day internationals before Thursday’s Champions Trophy semi-final against Bangladesh but it was his very occasional off-spin proved to be decisive in his team’s win.
Bangladesh, batting first, were going well with Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim putting on 123 run partnership for the third wicket until Jadhav’s innocuous looking off-spin turned the game.
First he bowled Tamim, who sensing the chance for some easy runs produced a wild slog and got it all wrong.
Then he removed his partner Mushfiqur, who misjudged the flight of the ball and holed out to Virat Kohli at mid-wicket.
Bangladesh were then 179 for five and never recovered the momentum, ending up with 264, a score that India knocked off without any trouble.
Skipper Kohli said he had turned to Jadhav simply to try to slow down Bangladesh’s progress but his plan bore unexpected fruit.
“The wickets were honestly a bonus, Hardik (Pandya) went for a few in his first three, so we wanted to give him a bit of a break and cover up overs through Kedar, and with one left-hander batting, we knew that he had the ability to get in two, three, dot balls to the left-hander every over. But it ended up changing the whole game for us,” he said.
Kohli though was reluctant to accept praise for the inspired decision, which resulted in figures of two for 22 off six overs for Jadhav, saying that former captain and wicketkeeper MS Dhoni had helped in the idea.
”I won’t take the whole credit. Obviously I asked MS, as well, and we both decided that Kedar is a good option at that moment, and he bowled really well.
Jadhav also had words of praise for Dhoni who he said helped him read the batsmen on the field.
”Since I’ve been in the team I have spent a lot of time with MS and I tried to learn as much as I can from him and he provides me with all the knowledge that he has. Even while I am bowling he is looking at me and from his eyes only I can tell what he wants me to bowl.
“It was one of those days where I could read them very well and I was able to execute what I wanted to do,” he said.
“If batsmen try to score big shots against me they find it difficult.”
Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Alison Williams