Ravindra Jadeja Credits Steven Smith's Wicket as Pivotal Moment in the Game


Ravindra Jadeja Credits Steven Smith’s Wicket as Pivotal Moment in the Game

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When the Chennai pitch, reminiscent of India’s 2023 World Cup opener against Australia, provides grip and turn, Ravindra Jadeja transforms into an entirely different force. His left-arm spin tends to bewilder even the most proficient batters, regardless of the hour – even if you were to rouse him at 3 AM. In the dry conditions of Chennai on Sunday, October 8, Jadeja, at 34 years of age, capitalized on this perfect setting.

Jadeja showcased his prowess by capturing 3 wickets for just 28 runs in his 10 overs, playing a pivotal role in India’s dismissal of Australia for a mere 199 runs in 49.3 overs. As soon as he found the favorable conditions, Jadeja reverted to his tried-and-true strategy: targeting the stumps and allowing the pitch to work its magic. His victims included Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, and Alex Carey, effectively dismantling Australia’s batting order.

Reflecting on his approach, Jadeja explained, “When I began my first over, I noticed that the ball was stopping after pitching. Given the afternoon heat and the dry wicket, I felt that a stump-to-stump line would be more effective. I anticipated that some deliveries would turn, while others would stay straight, making it challenging for the batsmen to line up their shots. So, my plan was to consistently target the stumps, and fortunately, the ball turned a bit more while dismissing Smith. I thought of it as a Test match bowling wicket and refrained from experimenting too much, letting the natural conditions prevail.”

Australia initially lost the wicket of the in-form Mitchell Marsh in the third over, but David Warner and Smith established a 69-run partnership for the second wicket. While Warner was dismissed by Kuldeep Yadav, Labuschagne continued to keep Australia in a favorable position. At one stage, they were 110/2 before Jadeja delivered a stunning ball to dismiss Smith. The delivery drifted towards leg-stump and then sharply turned away, crashing into the top of the off-stump, leaving Smith stunned. Subsequently, Australia lost their last seven wickets for a mere 89 runs.

Jadeja highlighted Smith’s dismissal as the turning point, stating, “I believe that was the moment that shifted the momentum. After losing a key wicket like Steve Smith, it became challenging for the new batsman to come in and rotate the strike. From there, they went from 110/3 to being bowled out for 199. I would say that was the turning point. It also worked to my advantage since I was familiar with the Chennai conditions, having played here for 10-11 years. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and whenever I contribute to the team, it brings me immense joy.

While India’s bowlers performed admirably in the first innings, they faced an unexpected challenge at the start of the run chase. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood swiftly dismissed Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, and Shreyas Iyer within two overs, leaving India reeling at 2/3. However, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul rose to the occasion, forming a remarkable partnership of 165 runs for the fourth wicket. Their stellar performance paved the way for India to begin their World Cup campaign with a crucial victory.

Reflecting on the challenging situation at the beginning of the chase, Jadeja shared, “When you lose three wickets in just a couple of overs, there’s naturally some panic. However, we knew that Virat and Rahul have been consistent performers for the team for many years. So, I don’t think anyone was overly anxious. Fortunately, they played brilliantly, understood the conditions well, and carried the game to its conclusion.

Expressing his thoughts on starting the World Cup with a victory, Jadeja emphasized, “It feels great to defeat formidable teams, and it certainly boosts our confidence. Beating Australia and other strong teams in the World Cup is a significant achievement. I won’t say it will be easy against the other teams because every team is formidable. However, winning against top teams instills a different level of confidence.4




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