Vijay Hazare Trophy: Yash Dayal, Uttar Pradesh’s unsung hero 

The left-arm seamer dented Madhya Pradesh’s middle order and proved to be the difference between the two teams in the pre-quarterfinals. 

Yash Dayal (bowling) was the pick of the bowlers for UP in the pre-quarterfinal against MP on Sunday.   -  ABHISHEK MUKHERJEE

For all of Uttar Pradesh’s wins in the Vijay Hazare Trophy this season, the primary work was done by the fast bowlers: Shivam Mavi wrecked Delhi, Yash Dayal demolished Hyderabad, and Ankit Rajpoot razed Haryana.

In the pre-quarterfinal against Madhya Pradesh, too, it was the work done by the fast-bowling unit – in particular left-arm seamer Dayal – that made UP’s win possible. 

Dayal’s unassuming presence on the cricket field belies his smart temperament. Or that is what seems to be the case, as he has been able to achieve both of his objectives – restricting the run flow and taking wickets – game after game. In his latest assignment, he was even able to overshadow his better-known counterpart, the India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

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Dayal’s first spell was the best, as was expected on a greenish surface early in the morning, but there were no wickets to show for it. Opener Rameez Khan was lucky to have ended up scoring 35; early on in his innings, he edged a delivery from Dayal and the ball flew over the head of the slip fielders. Shubham Sharma could have been dismissed early, too: Dayal directed a full delivery at his legs, struck him on the pads, but didn’t appeal, only briefly looking at the umpire with a raised hand and a puzzled expression after his team-mates had drowned their voices out. BCCI chief selector Chetan Sharma, who was watching the proceedings keenly, remarked: “How can the umpire give it out when the bowler himself doesn’t appeal?”

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Dayal had retained his fizz even in the 11th over, when he produced two excellent deliveries to Rameez. Both were in the corridor of uncertainty, on a good length.  

Yet, Dayal’s full impact was yet to be made. Amidst the humdrum proceedings in the middle overs, it was clear that MP’s batters were keen not to take risks too early, and would try to accelerate in the death overs. But Dayal disallowed it by taking three wickets – including those of Venkatesh Iyer and the captain Aditya Shrivastava - between overs 41 and 44.  

First, Venkatesh Iyer, who had restrained himself for a considerable period of time, was caught behind for 30, trying to pull a short delivery. Was the pace of the ball unexpectedly high? Then, Aditya was dismissed bowled for 2 – he tried to cut the ball and missed it. And in the same over, Parth Sahani was dismissed caught behind for 1.

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MP was now struggling, and there would be no fireworks in the death overs to lift the run-rate as Dayal finished his spell with 3 for 35. 

Contributions from Aksh Deep Nath and Rinku Singh did turn it around for UP after the loss of early wickets during the chase. But had the likes of Iyer and Shrivastava accelerated towards the end during MP’s innings, the story may have been different. 

Dayal’s timely breakthroughs and the fact that only 24 of his deliveries were scored from – including 20 singles – did indeed hurt MP more than any other batter or bowler.  

The 24-year-old is a relative newcomer to domestic cricket, having played only 40 matches across formats, but is stamping his authority on this tournament. Fourteen of his 23 List A wickets have come this month. He is proving to be UP’s trump card. 

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