India vs New Zealand: 8 overs, 52 runs, 1 six - No man of the match, yet, biggest difference between India and New Zealand
In the first T20I match Shreyas Iyer was given player of the match, in the second one, KL Rahul was adjudged man of the match. Both these players played a stellar role and in T20Is, the dazzling strokeplay often gets the eyeballs, the accolades and the awards. And yet, there was Jasprit Bumrah doing Jasprit Bumrah things and he proved to be the difference between the sides.
Why do we say so?
Eight overs, two fours, one six, 52 runs - these were his numbers in the two matches and on a pitch where the rest of the bowlers were at the mercy of the batsmen, Bumrah stood tall. His hop, skip and jump approach to the wicket followed by an assortment of deliveries and a sharp mind never allowed New Zealand to breathe.
He bowled the ‘dirty’ overs - in the powerplay and at the death and yet, he reigned supreme. “The guys were trying. There was a lot of swinging and missing, and that can happen. Obviously, you’re playing against one of the best death bowlers in the world. He’s got a great slower ball, hits the hole pretty well and he’s got a great bouncer. So it’s pretty hard to get Bumrah away at the end, and hopefully, he can have three off nights for us, coming up,” New Zealand opener Martin Guptill said after the second match in Auckland.
Wickets might not have come thick and fast for Bumrah, but his control and relentless pressure has allowed the other bowlers to prosper. The batsmen are aware of the threat, they are willing to play him with caution. Even when they are willing to throw caution to the wind, they are being pulled back in. In Bumrah, Kohli has a match-winner and the captain knows how to use him.
Perhaps Guptill’s wish is answered and Bumrah does have an off night or two, but he is a proud bowler who will not leave his fate to chance.
“The bowlers stood up and took control of what we wanted to do out there. The ball gripped for the spinners and I think Jadeja was outstanding. Chahal was a banker. Bumrah was amazing as well, and Shami and Shardul and Shivam making very good contributions with the ball but I think we backed it up in the field more importantly,” Virat Kohli assessed the performance of his side after the match and the captain hit the nail on the head.