In the realm of cricketing brilliance, where legends are made, Ravindra Jadeja stands as a testament to the artistry of spin bowling. Before the roar of Indian fans at Chepauk and the brilliance of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul could take center stage in the World Cup 2023 opener, there was a silent storm brewing in the form of Ravindra Jadeja. The seasoned all-rounder, known for his precision and guile, had a special plan for Australia’s formidable batting lineup.
The turning point of the match came when Jadeja, with a flick of his wrist and a touch of magic, delivered a ripper of a ball that left the cricketing world in awe. His target? None other than the batting maestro, Steve Smith. The ball danced off the pitch and disturbed the top of the off stump, leaving Smith bamboozled. It was a delivery that showcased the artistry of spin bowling at its finest.
In the annals of cricket history, some battles become legendary. Ravindra Jadeja vs. Steve Smith is one such saga. Jadeja’s dismissal of Smith in this match marked the 11th occasion in international cricket that the Australian batter had fallen victim to the spin maestro. The term ‘bunny’ is often reserved for a bowler’s favorite batsman to dismiss, and in this case, Smith found himself tangled in Jadeja’s web.
Former Indian head coach Ravi Shastri, a man well-versed in the intricacies of the game, had high praise for Jadeja’s mastery over Smith. He hailed Smith as Jadeja’s ‘bunny’ in world cricket, highlighting the difficulty of facing a spinner of Jadeja’s caliber. Shastri emphasized the challenge batters face when trying to decipher Jadeja’s deliveries, as even the spinner himself isn’t always certain which ball will turn and which will go straight.
“He (Jadeja) has dismissed him (Smith) 10 to 12 times. He (Smith) is his bunny. It is not that easy to play such a delivery because of the speed at which he bowls. As a batter, you don’t know which ball is going to turn and which ball will go straight. He (Jadeja) himself said in the interview that he doesn’t know which ball will turn and which will go straight. If he doesn’t know, how will the batter know? So he plays inside the line at times and outside the line on other occasions,” Shastri told Star Sports.
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In the 150th One Day International (ODI) encounter between these cricketing giants, Ravindra Jadeja emerged as the hero for India. His spellbinding performance helped India dismiss Australia for a meager total of 199 at Chennai. Jadeja’s victims included the prized wickets of Steve Smith (46), Marnus Labuschagne (27), and Alex Carey (0). The senior all-rounder picked up three crucial wickets and conceded just 28 runs in his quota of 10 overs. Notably, this was Jadeja’s first three-wicket haul at the ICC World Cup.
Reflecting on his performance, Jadeja revealed his game plan. His strategy was simple yet effective – to bowl on the stumps. He capitalized on the turning track at Chepauk and executed his plan to perfection. The mantra was clear: no experiments, stump-to-stump bowling.
“My plan was to bowl on the stump and luckily the ball to Smith turned more. I thought this was a typical Test match wicket. We should not do any experiment and bowl stump-to-stump,” Jadeja said.