Proteas will succumb to ‘unplayable’ Axar, Kuldeep in final: Sarandeep | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: Former India spinner Sarandeep Singh believes that India’s spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel will prove to be too much for the South Africans to handle in the T20 World Cup final in Bridgetown, Barbados on Saturday.
According to Sarandeep, Kuldeep and Axar, who have had a formidable run in the tournament, will be the key to India’s victory on the spin-friendly Bridgetown wicket.
Wrist spinner Kuldeep has been in spectacular form, taking 10 wickets in four games with best figures of 3 for 19.
Axar Patel has also been impressive, claiming eight wickets from seven games with a best figures of 3 for 23.
Both left-arm spinners are expected to play in the final, setting high expectations for India’s spin attack.
“If you ask me, who are the two players who will win it for India in the final, I will say Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel. They are outright match-winners in spin-friendly conditions,” Sarandeep told PTI Videos on Friday.
“We are having at the world’s best spinners at the moment. Look at the way Kuldeep and Axar came in, they are winning all the games. They are unplayable. Everyone is talking about Kuldeep. He is going to destroy the South African middle order.
“He has done it against Australia (in Super 8s) and England (in semifinals). Now it’s the turn of South Africa. Axar is also a very dangerous slow left-arm orthodox bowler. An outright match-winner. Indian spinners will win the final.”
Both India and South Africa come into the final without having lost a single match in the World Cup. South Africa have won all their eight games, while India emerged victorious in seven, with their match against Canada in Florida being washed out due to rain.
Sarandeep, who played three Tests and five ODIs, emphasized that the spin-friendly conditions at Bridgetown would work well in favor of Kuldeep and Axar. He pointed out how effective Axar has been, especially when he begins taking wickets from the sixth over, thus easing the pressure on the rest of the bowling attack.
“Axar starts getting wickets from the sixth over. It’s not easy for Axar to bowl in powerplay. He comes, bowls, and makes things easy for the rest of the bowlers. Kuldeep and Axar are complementing each other so well.
“The wickets in West Indies are not easy to play especially if you have world-class spinners like Kuldeep and Axar. It was not easy for England, it will not be easy for South Africa as well,” Sarandeep observed.
The former India off-spinner added that skipper Rohit Sharma was spot on in his assessment of Caribbeans conditions and opted for four spinners.
“Rohit opted for four spinners but (Yuzvendra) Chahal is not in the scheme of things. The reason is, others have done their job exceedingly well. (Ravindra) Jadeja is the senior-most player but he is not coming into powerplay. Axar knows how to bowl in these conditions. He is the best option for us to bowl into the powerplay. He is giving the results as well,” he added.
On whether South African spinners Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi could also trouble the Indian batters, Sarandeep said, “Yes they will. Keshav and Shamsi are also very good. Let’s see how Indian batsmen handle the spinners.
“India has a very strong middle order. India has left-handers like Rishabh Pant, Shivam Dube, Axar, and Jadeja. Four left-handers in the middle order. It will be interesting to see how Maharaj and Shamsi are going to tackle them. And vice-versa. This will be a big challenge for them also.”
Sarandeep further asserted that India boasts the best batting and bowling lineup in the world, highlighting the exceptional bowling economy of ace bowler Jasprit Bumrah throughout the tournament.
“Bumrah’s economy is 3.5 or 3.6. This is so unreal. Other bowlers go over 9 or 10. Even after eight games, his economy is 3.5. This is so unreal. What else can you ask from him? India is the favourites not only in batting but bowling as well.”
The former cricketer played down Virat Kohli’s lack of form. Virat has scored only 76 runs in seven innings.
“Virat is waiting for the final to perform. He is a world-class player, no doubt. He is mentally very strong. He is a team man. He is playing for the team. And there is some plan given to him.
“Normally he opens only in the IPL. But here he had been given a clear-cut role. Virat is trying to hit from the first ball and trying to put more pressure on the bowlers. But somehow he is getting out quickly. But I am not worried about him. He is a big-match player. And that big game is coming. His big innings is coming against South Africa.”

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