The performance of Team India in the limited-overs leg of the South African tour has been quite exceptional. No one expected them to win the series by a 5-1 margin. The victory was largely built around a certain Virat Kohli and wrist spinning duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. This was also the first time, India won a bilateral series in South Africa.
Despite some ordinary days in the ODI series, Bhuvneshwar Kumar continues to be the most potent threat. He went for a few runs in the series but came back quite strongly in the opening T20I. The pacer finished with an excellent five-wicket haul which eventually helped India register a comprehensive victory.
The visitors after being put into bat posted a massive 203 on the board. Opener Shikhar Dhawan played a brilliant knock of 72 of 39 deliveries. Manish Pandey, Dhoni and Hardik Pandya ’s contribution propelled India to a score of over 200 runs.
Bhuvneshwar provides initial breakthroughs
It was Bhuvneshwar Kumar who provided the first breakthrough. The wicket of JJ Smuts was required at that stage, and Bhuvi did just what the doctor had order India. He added one more in the form of JP Duminy as South Africa was struggling.
Healthy partnership between Reeza Hendricks and Farhan Behardien
There was a brief partnership of 83 runs between opener Reeza Hendricks and Behardien. They played some delightful shits in the process and gave a stiff challenge to India. However, following their dismissal, it was too much for the hosts.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar Finishes it off
It was Bhuvneshwar Kumar who came back strongly in the final spell and bagged the wickets of Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klassen and Chris Morris. Hendricks was striking the ball; pretty well but it was Bhuvi who bamboozled the opener with knuckle delivery. It was wide off the stumps and Hendricks ended up giving an easy catch to MS Dhoni.
He bagged the wicket of Heinrich Klassen with a Yorker and again bamboozled Morris with a slower delivery. Bhuvi’s figures of 5/24 also earned him the Player of the Match Award.
The Mystery of the Knuckle-ball
A knuckle ball is basically a sort of a bowling technique which is taken from baseball. It is actually a trait developed by the modern day bowlers. Despite the name, the ball isn’t thrown with the knuckles but with the fingernails. This doesn’t allow the ball to spin.
While delivering the knuckle ball the bowler needs to make sure that the arm speed is same as the regular delivery in order to bamboozle the batsman. Cricket in the modern time is very demanding one. Batsmen keep smashing the bowlers all around the park and they need to come up with something unique.
The knuckle ball has been developed by different bowlers according to their technique. They also deliver the ball according to their comfort. Some bowlers prefer holding it with the fingernails tip while others hold it with the surface on their fingernails. Former Indian pacer used the delivery to good effect but not like the exact way as it is shown in the picture.
Windies spinner Sunil Narine is the nearest to the definition of delivering a knuckle ball. However, after his remodified action he hasn’t been able to use the delivery.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is one of the better exponents of the knuckle ball in the recent times and usually prefers holding it in the tip of the fingernails.
It was during the 2016 IPL that Bhuvneshwar developed the traits of Yorkers and slower deliveries. He had a sensational season with the Champions Sunrisers Hyderabad. It was that edition which helped Bhuvi evolve as a bowler. He developed a whole trait of knuckle balls and different slower deliveries. It is pretty difficult to execute the knuckle ball but there is no doubt about the fact that Bhuvi has mastered it.