Kolkata, Nov 5: Kuldeep Yadav's 3/13 fetched him the Player of the Match award after India's five-wicket victory in the first Twenty20 International against the Windies, and the bowler thanked familiar conditions at Eden Gardens for his success.
Yadav has the experience of playing at the ground as he plays for Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, who play their home games at Eden. On Sunday, that experience came to the fore.
"Definitely, it (knowing the conditions) plays a part," Yadav said after the match.
"It's been five years with KKR. I have played all the IPL games here. It gives you a massive advantage when you play a lot of matches, like I have played at Eden Gardens. I know the ground, I know the conditions, I know the wicket as well, so everything is in my favour," he said.
Yadav isn't the only one who has played a lot at the venue. Dinesh Karthik, who steered the Indian chase of 110 with a steely 31 not out, also played the last IPL with Kolkata.
"He (Karthik) batted really well," Yadav said of his Knight Riders captain.
"Because the conditions were in his favour. He led KKR in the last IPL season so was well aware of the conditions."
"It was also difficult because there were wickets falling at the other end and you had to rein yourself in. It was a very important innings for us. Credit goes to him," he said.
It wasn't a particularly big total from the Windies, who managed 109/8 from 20 overs, but the Indian innings stuttered a bit, with the top three failing to get big scores. Yadav attributed the initial challenges to the conditions, an ICC report on Monday said.
"Sometimes, small totals like 110 become difficult to chase. At Eden Gardens, the ball swings later in the second innings," he said. "They bowled well, they bowled in perfect areas that made it really tough for us."
And while the Windies bowled well, Yadav too had a special trick up his arsenal.
He bowled a front-of-the-hand delivery at speeds in excess of 100 kmph, something he has rarely done in the past.
When asked about the delivery, he said, "It's been four-five years since I started bowling this delivery in the nets."
"Sometimes, in the last series as well, I bowled couple of these. So I am getting confident with this delivery and using it in match situations as well. In T20 cricket you have to bowl such deliveries to break the rhythm of the batsmen,"Yadav said. (UNI)