Kolkata Knight Riders’ spinner Kuldeep Yadav has been a shining light for the two-time champions, having joined the setup in 2016. It was through his performances in the IPL that resulted in getting awarded a national cap and subsequently cementing his spot in India’s limited-overs squad. Meanwhile, Kuldeep Yadav has recalled how Rashid Khan thwarted KKR’s chances in playoffs in 2018.
Kuldeep Yadav is currently gearing himself for the upcoming edition of the IPL and rediscovering his lost touch. Not only the left-arm spinner’s form was worrisome in IPL last year, but he was also inconsistent for the Indian team.
Kuldeep suffered a horror tour of New Zealand earlier this year in which he played only one out of three ODIs and conceded 84 runs in those. As far as previous year’s IPL edition goes, the chinaman bowler picked only four wickets in nine games.
Kuldeep Yadav admitted they firmly believed they would lift the title last year as well as in 2018 since KKR played good cricket. Their 2019 leg is best remembered for Andre Russell’s heroics with the bat and needing to perform rescue missions as their batting line-up stumbled on multiple occasions. The Dinesh Karthik-side finished sixth on the points table.
“I had a strong feeling last year that we would win. Even in 2018, we were playing great cricket and I was sure we would win the title,” the Kanpur-born said in an interview for the KKR official website.
We were just one step away from entering the final: Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav went on to rehash the second qualifier against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Kolkata in 2018 when Rashid Khan launched an onslaught to lift his side to 174. Kuldeep recalled going off the ground after his outstanding bowling spell of 4-0-29-2, picking the crucial scalps of Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson.
The 25-year-old thought that at 125, Sunrisers would not reach beyond 145. Leggie Rashid Khan struck 34 off ten deliveries as Kuldeep Yadav’s side suffered a 14-run heart-breaking loss.
“I remember the match we lost against Sunrisers Hyderabad (in qualifier 2). I was out of the ground because my spell was over. They were on 125 and I thought they would not go beyond 145. But Rashid Khan came into the middle and changed the game. We were just one step away from entering the final. It was a heart-breaking moment when we lost the match,” he added.