Jasprit Bumrah’s performance in T20s vs New Zealand created a world record. It’s a ridiculously good one at that. But did it occur to you that he didn’t play against the West Indians who came calling late last year? Neither did he participate against the South Africans in Tests prior to that. Well, thank god for the West Indies and South Africans. They didn’t have to bear the brunt of what it means to face Bumrah.
Because if one wished to understand what that actually means then you had to look no further than the New Zealand report card. And on that count, just what does it tell us?
Ask Williamson and his team, many of whom were able to pick Bumrah, albeit in patches, the captain going as far as nailing the speedster, only for the Indian bowler to make it count in the end.
6 wickets from 5 T20s. Sounds nothing extraordinary, right? Maybe, not until one understands the economy rate or for that matter that 3 of those 6 wickets came in a single contest, the one that India nailed to ensure their superiority over the Kiwis in T20 cricket.
Because here’s the fact. Prior to the just-concluded 5-match T20 series- and an important one for India also from the perspective that Kohli played in his maiden T20Is in the country- India hadn’t won a series in the shortest format.
Maybe, also because Jasprit Bumrah‘s performance in T20s v New Zealand was as critical as is the current role of KL Rahul to the side. But one wonders whether there was anything outstanding in Jasprit Bumrah’s performance in T20s v New Zealand, in the sense that in 2 of the 5 games, he was smashed to different parts of the ground?
Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? The good bowlers take wickets. But the great bowlers take wickets all the time. Forget for a second that 6 of Bumrah’s wickets came from playing each of the five contests in the series. It’s the fact that the 3 that came at Mt. Maunganui- the contest where India hit the nail hard- catapulted India to the path of their 5-nil series win.
And above anything that the Ahmedabad-born became the first bowler in T20Is to bowl seven maiden overs made him something of a rare species; a feat that hasn’t been achieved in a format where often bowling dot balls become quite a task. Isn’t it?
Perhaps that is why the spell of 3 for 12 is so much valuable than how it would normally appear. He first dislodged Martin Guptill from the middle. The big premier batsman was able to make just 2. Later, implicit in Jasprit Bumrah’s performance in T20s v New Zealand would be the identical score he’d get Mitchell out for. Finally, he would clean up the New Zealand captain.
Southee was able to make 6 off 5 when New Zealand were looking for something more.
But that’s the thing about Jasprit Bumrah’s performance in T20s v New Zealand that at a time where much of our attention may have rested wit the super-over finishes or the brilliant KL exploits, a bowler made it count.
Yes, a bowler, that too, in a T20 international.
That being said, was it a surprise that for his excellent defiant match-winning spell, the mild-mannered man was adjudged the ‘player-of-the-match’?
Thus far, Bumrah has bowled over 1,000 deliveries in T20 internationals from which he’s got 59 wickets. The moment you understand that all he’s played thus far in a young career are just 50 games, the feat becomes all the more special- doesn’t it?
With 3 more ODIs to follow and thereafter, 2 Tests- one wonders what might become of the hosts who are already on the backfoot? Is a fightback on the cards? Well, Bumrah, you know what to do, right?