It was a nail-biting, edge-of-the-seat match in Nagpur but India captain Virat Kohli wasn’t ready to allow Jasprit Bumrah get overwhelmed by the task of preventing a last-ball six. Bumrah, skillful but young, was a little concerned and asked for advice.
It was then that Kohli came up with a gem of an advice that helped Bumrah stay calm and deliver a five-run win which helped India level the series and stay alive.
“Bumrah was asking me what to do every ball. I just told him to back his skills. Even if it goes for a six, you still wake up tomorrow. It’s not the end of the world,” said Kohli at the post-match presentation ceremony after India’s five-run win.
Having delivered a dot-ball which gave India the tense last-ball win, Bumrah hailed his captain’s advice.
“Captain’s confidence always helps. He’s given me the freedom of doing whatever I want to. So I can stick to my strengths. The confidence is always helpful,” he said.
Bumrah said he tried to stick to the basics throughout the match. “I tried to assess the wicket. I tried to learn from whatever I saw in the first innings. On this wicket, I thought it’s a big ground and it’s on the slower side, so back of the length deliveries and slower balls worked well,” said Bumrah after getting the Man of the Match award.
Ashish Nehra, who took 3/28 and helped India stay in the game, heaped praised onBumrah for conceding just two runs in the last over.
“The only thing on my mind was to give as many runs to Jasprit (to defend). One bad ball, one good shot and it would have been over. Hats off to the way Jasprit bowled the last over. I told Bumrah that even if he goes for four (last ball), we will still win. He asked me if he should bowl a length ball but I told him to bowl a yorker outside off. Even if it’s a full toss, it will go for a four, not for a six,” he said.
Kohli said India showed strong character in defending a slightly below-par score. “It’s important to have belief. It was a case of us executing really well in the beginning. Strong character was shown by the side, something I am proud of. Bumrah and Nehra were outstanding in the end. To defend 40 in five overs with dew present is outstanding,” said Kohli.
The Indian skipper also heaped praise on KL Rahul’s 71, which was his first fifty. His knock was the only high score on a pitch that was not easy to bat on.
“It was an outstanding innings from Rahul on a pitch where shot-making was difficult. As soon as I got out, Rahul knew he had to play long. He has all the shots in the book - good reflexes, hand-eye coordination. We are looking forward to Bangalore. There are some things we need to tighten up,” he said.
England captain Eoin Morgan didn’t forget to mention that a wrong decision from umpire Shamshuddin affected their chase. In the first ball of the final over, Joe Root, who was on 38, was adjudged LBW when he got a clear inside edge. This decision proved to be a big difference between both the sides.
“We were in the driving seat right up until the last over,” said Morgan. “Needing eight runs, you probably win the game 99 times out of 100. But we didn’t start the over well. A decision went against us. Losing the ‘in’ batsman cost us,” he said.