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IPL 2022: Umesh Yadav’s Quest For Redemption

Agarwal knew something was about to happen. Even the crowd. He had faced five dot deliveries now. He was waiting for a poor delivery which never came. Yadav trapped him. Leg before the wicket. He had no clue, but Yadav did. He has been doing this for the past three matches. This was his fifth wicket in the powerplay this year.

A couple of days ago, RCB might not have faced the same fate as CSK or PBKS did, but Yadav certainly had his moments. He almost dismissed Faf du Plessis in the first delivery of the match. He then took just two deliveries to dismiss Rawat. Kohli didn’t fall for Yadav’s magic in that over. Instead, he replied with a couple of boundaries, but then Yadav had the final laugh. He ended with 2/16.

A couple of nights before that, the first match of the tournament witnessed Yadav opening against CSK.

First delivery. No Ball. Free-hit followed.

Though it didn’t cost him a lot, it wasn’t the start he was hoping for, but the crowd did. The crowd expected Yadav to do things like this. We are all dragged into that fictionary bubble where Yadav has always been an antagonist in his own team. We are inclined to believe that he was going to leak runs every time he had the ball. It is a funny illusion of ours’ because Yadav didn’t feature in most of the IPL matches in the past couple of seasons. What were we thinking?

When Gaikwad got out for a duck, everyone was surprised, and when he kept Uthappa quiet; when Devon Conway chipped one straight to mid-on, everything felt different.

It is not like Yadav is someone new. It is not like he hasn’t done it before. With the red ball, for India, he ran through batting orders; rattled big old names with ease. He has been around for more than a decade now. He has seen two generations of fast bowlers, the one which he led from the front and the other where he rides piggyback on others.

Yadav is weird in many ways. His record is better at home or in the sub-continent, a place that is usually spinners’ ally. Still, we have seen quite a number of years of Yadav at the top, and he was at the top as one of the highest-rated, fastest pacers, even though he was, at times, at least a little behind others in terms of wickets. He had a lot of successful years, and the years that we’re talking about came with the red ball and with the white ball, he would get into trouble. Even in this IPL 2022 auction, he went unsold initially.

However, in the past three matches, there was some assistance for the pacers too–Mohammad Shami would agree to this. And when there is even a minute movement, Yadav can do wonders. We have seen it before and we are seeing it now, be it a red or white ball.

It was a good week for him. But also, this week has only increased everyone’s expectations of him. Can he continue to pick wickets in the powerplay? Will his world continue to bring delight to KKR?

Only time will tell.

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