Kuldeep Yadav opens up ahead of the semi-final clash vs New Zealand

India maintained their unbeaten run in the ODI World Cup 2023 as they decimated the Netherlands on Sunday, November 12, in Bengaluru, winning by 160 runs. The Men in Blue are two wins away from bagging the ODI World Cup title for the third time. Their next assignment is a clash against New Zealand in the semi-finals on Wednesday, November 15, in Mumbai.

Kuldeep Yadav has been one of the star performers for India in the ongoing edition of the marquee event. After the resounding win against the Dutch side, Kuldeep explained the importance of taking early wickets in the semi-finals, at a venue like Wankhede Stadium, which offers very little assistance for the bowlers.

“It is a difficult venue to bowl. The bounce is true and batsmen often dominate there. Unlike in T20, of course, the bowlers have plenty of time to come back into the game. But yes, you need a couple of early wickets to get on top of the game and opponents,” Kuldeep was quoted as saying by India Today.

Incidentally, New Zealand and India locked horns in the semi-finals of the 2019 ODI World Cup in Manchester. The Kiwis held their nerve and won a tight contest by 18 runs. Kuldeep, who did not played in that game, said that the two teams have played a lot against each other since then. He expects India to continue the purple patch that has seen them win nine games in a row in the 10-team tournament.

“The 2019 semifinals (against NZ) was four years ago. We have played a lot of bilateral series after that, so we know the conditions in India and so do they. Our preparation has been good and we have been able to play good cricket throughout the tournament. So, we expect to continue in the same vein in the next match as well,” Kuldeep added.

I just keep focusing on the process rather than on wickets: Kuldeep Yadav

The 28-year-old picked up a couple of wickets against the Netherlands to take his tally to 14 in nine matches in the showpiece event. He has an excellent average of 22.29 and his miserly economy rate of 4.15 shows how well he has executed his bowling plans. Kuldeep said that he prioritises putting the ball in the right areas as much as possible and focuses on the process rather than wickets.

“I just work on my rhythm and strengths and focus on how batsmen are trying to play me. My aim is to land the ball on the good length area as much as possible. I just keep focusing on the process rather than on wickets. Hopefully, it will work in the next match also,” Kuldeep concluded.