Jasprit Bumrah, T20’s most complete fast bowler, finally a world beater | Crickit
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Jasprit Bumrah, T20’s most complete fast bowler, finally a world beater

By, Mumbai
Jun 30, 2024 09:58 AM IST

Kohli has twice been player of the T20 World Cup, but Bumrah’s 2024 medal was the most pivotal in a winning cause

Jasprit Bumrah is a fast bowler who can do bodily harm and at the same time possesses the smarts to confound a batter's mind.

India's Jasprit Bumrah (C) celebrates after South Africa's Marco Jansen (L) is clean bowled during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2024 final cricket match between India and South Africa at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown(AFP)
India's Jasprit Bumrah (C) celebrates after South Africa's Marco Jansen (L) is clean bowled during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2024 final cricket match between India and South Africa at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown(AFP)

Bumrah nearly broke Ireland batter Harry Tecktor’s finger with an angry bouncer and bamboozled Phil Salt of England with a well-disguised off-cutter. By showing his complete range at the T20 World Cup, the Indian pace spearhead became the first specialist bowler to win the Player-of-the-Tournament award (29.4 overs, 15 wkts, economy 4.18).

Bumrah can pick early wickets and kill matches at the death. But his real value is his bankability when the chips are down. Bumrah never fails to deliver. With only 40 runs to defend in 36 balls against Pakistan, skipper Rohit Sharma turned to Bumrah and he got the set Mohammed Rizwan out.

In Saturday's final in Barbados, Heinrich Klaasen had pumped a 24-run over against Axar Patel, leaving South Africa to get 30 runs in 30 balls with 6 wickets in hand. How can you win a final from here? Bumrah was the last throw of dice for Rohit. The Indian pace ace delivered a 4-run over, created pressure for a wicket from the other end, and followed it up with a reverse swinging menace to send back Marco Jansen and set up India’s win.

Length balls don’t usually produce wickets, not on good pitches like the Kensington Oval, which on Saturday had no blade of grass. But earlier in the match, Bumrah had found a way to clean up opener Reeza Hendricks with an away swinger; a delivery he once did not possess but had taught himself on the road in self exploration.

Bumrah’s entire success story is about self-discovery. A fast bowler with an unusual slingy action which would be written off by people, only for the speedster to prove them wrong; first at the Ahmedabad pols (housing clusters) as a youngster, then at the highest level.

Drawing motivation from idol Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Bumrah took great pleasure in proving doubters wrong. Few believed Bumrah could bowl like before after being forced to go under the knife to treat his back and miss the 2022 T20 World Cup. Here he was, better than ever before and a World Cup winner.

“I don’t know how much I can talk about Bumrah. We have been seeing this with him for such a long time now. Whenever he has the ball in hand, he tends to create magic,” Rohit said.

With 7-runs per over to defend for 3 overs and the title slipping away, you can be tempted to bowl the magic balls. But Bumrah and Rohit decided to build pressure by bringing the straight fielders up, to force batters to find the tougher square boundaries against Bumrah’s angle.

The plan worked. Jansen missed, Bumrah tailed in and struck. At that crunch stage in the match, Bumrah was willing to grind hard, for that’s also how T20 matches can be won.

Being able to think on his feet is also one of Bumrah’s great qualities. When to go searching for swing with the new ball, when to ring in the slower balls from ball one like he did against Afghanistan at Barbados, Bumrah would set the marker for the rest of the bowling group to follow.

A bowler of his calibre, not just in India but the best in the business – seldom do 24 balls matter the most in a 240-ball contest -- it's only fair that he has a title to show that he is a world-beater.

“Usually, I’m the one who tries to keep my emotions in check and get the job done, but today I don’t have many words. I don’t usually cry after a game, but the emotions are taking over,” Bumrah said.

“We were in trouble but we’re really over the moon, to win from that stage. My family is here, we came close last time (2023 ODI World Cup) and we got the job done here, there’s no better feeling than to get your team through in a game like this.”

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