India v Pakistan: Has Win Predictor never heard of Jasprit Bumrah?

We assess all 24 deliveries of the fast bowler’s match-winning performance in the big T20 World Cup clash in New York

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Between them, Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar, Ramiz Raja, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram have been there, done that, and got the salwar kameez. Multiple times over.

Were Shastri not world cricket’s designated hype man (see the toss pre-India v Pakistan, which made Michael Buffer seem chill and had captains Rohit Sharma and Babar Azam in fits of giggles), it would be tempting to suggest it takes a fair bit to move them.

Obviously, Sunday’s T20 World Cup clash in New York was a big one. The fixture always does raise the pulses, especially a first competitive one in the city that never sleeps. But they have each seen it all before, and have a sufficient level of perspective. Maybe call it cynicism, at times.

But when each was behind the mic there was one thing which noticeably elevated the timbre of their commentary. It was the sight of Jasprit Bumrah with ball in hand.

With such an unlikely total (119) for India to defend at the undulating Nassau County ground, they would have had him bowling every over.

Gavaskar was the first to mention it. Eight balls had been bowled and Pakistan were 14 for no loss by the time he started to wonder where Bumrah was.

“He is your best bowler, and he is just standing at mid-on,” Gavaskar said, just before Mohammed Siraj bowled a peach to miss the outside edge of Mohammed Rizwan’s bat.

“He is the best bowler, an attacking option for you, and Pakistan rate him very high,” Raja responded. “You want a guy who can bowl that hard length. It is a pitch tailor made for Bumrah.”

They did not have to wait for long to get what they wanted. Bumrah was handed the ball for the third over, and the atmosphere of the game (until now, it had been all Pakistan) changed immediately.

Ball 1 (Third over): Length ball outside off, Rizwan drives for two with the outside half of the bat.

Ball 2: Same area, Rizwan defends for no run.

Ball 3: Wider of off on the same length, Rizwan attempts to release the pressure with a hoick to leg side, but gets a thick inside edge onto his pads for no run.

Ball 4: Straighter this time, zeroing in on leg stump, giving Rizwan more justification to hit to leg. He hits it hard but straight in the air to Shivam Dube at fine leg, he drops a simple chance. “It was a sitter,” says Raja. “No, no, no.” One run.

Ball 5: Back of a length, Babar guides it away without alarm to third man for a single.

Ball 6: Regulation fifth stump line outside off, Rizwan defends for no run on the off side.

(Bumrah: 1-0-4-0)

Rohit still looked unflustered, even though it was clear India needed a breakthrough asap. He kept Bumrah on to bowl the penultimate over of the Powerplay to try to make it happen.

Ball 7 (Fifth over): Rizwan manufactures an angle to work a back-of-a-length delivery just outside off into the onside for a single.

Ball 8: Comfortably played off the back foot by Babar but fielded at cover for no run.

Ball 9: Starting to look like they are finding his measure now, as Babar picks up a short-of-a-length delivery early, and chips it to wide mid-on for four.

Ball 10: Wicket. Babar flirts at a ball that is angling in just outside, and just rising just above off stump, and the edge is well taken at slip by Suryakumar Yadav. It is the breakthrough India need, and Pakistan are 26 for one.

Ball 11: Usman Khan, who would have been playing D10 cricket in Ajman rather than against Bumrah and Co in New York had he not accepted Pakistan’s invitation to play for them, plays and misses at his first ball outside off.

Ball 12: The crowd roar as Usman plays and misses at a beauty just outside off.

(Bumrah: 2-0-9-1)

It took till the 10th over for the commentators to start pondering when Rohit would attack with Bumrah again. “He is the strike bowler,” said Shastri, with Pakistan on 53 for one at the time, requiring 67 from 62 balls to win. “He has already bowled two and they will be thinking of when to bring him [back] in. India need to break this partnership.”

Steve Smith and Wasim Akram both agreed. Now was the time.

In fact, it was Axar Patel who was given the 11th, and he made a vital intervention, trapping Usman lbw. Hardik Pandya then accounted for Fakhar Zaman.

Now the door was ajar again, Bumrah re-entered the scene. “The main man is back,” said Ebony Rainford-Brent.

Ball 13 (15th over): Wicket. Just the force of Bumrah’s personality induces a rash hack across the line by Rizwan, and the set batter has his stumps demolished by a length ball that swings back slightly. “He is an amazing character, a genuine match-winner,” Waqar roars over the din of the crowd. Pakistan are 80 for four.

Ball 14: No run, as Bumrah gets the outside half of Shadab Khan’s bat.

Ball 15: An outside edge goes along the ground to slip. No run.

It is at this point that Win Predictor flashes up the chances for either side: India 16 per cent, Pakistan 84 percent. Maybe its Bumrah algorithm had not been inputted correctly. “I’d say [India] are more than 16,” Waqar said. “Bumrah still has an over and a half.”

Ball 16: A low full toss tailing into leg stump is miss-hit up to mid-on for a single by Shadab.

Ball 17: His first ball to a left-hander. Angled across Imad Wasim, who uses the arc of the delivery to get the ball past backward point for two.

Ball 18: Brings Imad forward and he blocks outside off for no run.

(Bumrah: 3-0-12-2)

India have one of the all-time great finishers with the bat – maybe the greatest – in Virat Kohli. Matches like this seem made for him. And yet when they bat first, and thus have to defend, it is Bumrah who is his bowling equivalent.

Their personas could scarcely be more contrasting. Bumrah is simultaneously an all-format great and the boy next door. A smiling assassin.

He was given the ball for the penultimate over, and told to finish them.

Ball 19 (19th over): An extraordinary 123kph slower ball, which starts short and wide of Imad’s leg stump and loops up to catch the outside edge of his bat. It trickles behind point and the batters take a single to take Pakistan to 100 for five.

Ball 20: Another slower, short ball, loops over the shoulder of Iftikhar Ahmed, who looks completely befuddled. No run.

Ball 21: A stock delivery on a good length outside off, which Iftikhar misses with a manic slog. No run.

Ball 22: His first big miss of the game, as he fires a full toss at the pads of Iftikhar, but again the batter misses. They get through for a leg bye but it was opportunity missed.

Ball 23: Imad backs away to a ball fired in at the top of off, clips it to extra cover and they take a single.

Ball 24: Overpitches for the second time in three balls, and again Iftikhar fails to punish him. This time Pakistan’s No 7 does get bat on it, but can only sky it to third man, where Arshdeep negotiates a potential collision with Yadav, and safely holds on.

(Bumrah 4-0-14-3)

It left Arshdeep with a cushion of 18 to defend off the last. Pakistan could only manage 10.

“I tried to keep it simple, as I thought the wicket did get better and the swing was less,” Bumrah said after closing out victory. “I tried to hit the seam, tried to be clear on what I wanted to do, and focused on the execution.”

Oh yes, of course. Why doesn’t everyone else just do that?

Updated: June 10, 2024, 12:53 PM