T20 World Cup 2024 IND vs PAK | Oceans apart: Bumrah’s searing spell takes Pakistan by storm

The ace pacer’s 4-0-14-3 was the tipping point in India’s nail-biting defence of a meagre 119 against the Men in Green; Babar’s men looked on course for a win, but Rizwan’s dismissal and a middle-order meltdown sealed their fate

Published - June 10, 2024 11:55 pm IST - New York

No bail! Bumrah ruthlessly punishes Rizwan’s attempt to take him on.

No bail! Bumrah ruthlessly punishes Rizwan’s attempt to take him on. | Photo Credit: DEEPAK KR

Play out Jasprit Bumrah safely. Look for scoring options elsewhere. This is the game plan used by all teams — international or IPL — when facing the gun quick.

Pakistan must have intended to follow this fairly obvious logic too, except that Mohammad Rizwan did not get the memo. In the 15th over of the chase against India on Sunday, Rizwan went on the offensive against Bumrah, and the settled batter lost his stumps. It was all downhill for Pakistan from there.

Rizwan must have known the high risk involved, given Bumrah’s spectacular recent form. The Gujarat speedster has made the perfect comeback from a back injury, which forced him out of action for nearly a year. The early signs of a full recovery came in the 2023 ODI World Cup, when Bumrah was among the standout performers with 20 wickets at an economy rate of 4.06.

By the time IPL 2024 came around, Bumrah was near unplayable. Mumbai Indians may have had a forgettable season, but Bumrah was in a different league.

The yorkers, cutters, bouncers, zip off the pitch - prime Bumrah was back. Two matches into the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, Bumrah leads the Indian charge with Player-of-the-Match performances in both outings. His 3-0-6-2 against Ireland was a sampler, while his 4-0-14-3 returns on Sunday was the main course.

Bumrah jolted Pakistan in the PowerPlay by removing captain Babar Azam with a sharp rising delivery, and finished the job in his second spell.

The 30-year-old is perhaps at the peak of his powers now, even if he is not one to bask in such praise. “A year ago, the same people were saying that I might not play again, and that my career is over. Now the question has changed,” Bumrah said at the post-match press conference.

“I was trying to focus on what the best option is on a wicket like this. How do I make shot-making difficult? What are the best options for me? If I look at the outside noise, if pressure and emotion take over, then things don’t work for me. I try to create my own bubble,” Bumrah said.

The India fast bowler spoke on the importance of claiming the big wicket of Rizwan. “If that over had gone in Pakistan’s favour, then the game would have also gone in their favour,” Bumrah said.

To buck the trend on this New York pitch, where sides fielding first have an advantage, was particularly pleasing. “When we were batting in the morning, there was a lot more help for the bowlers. When we bowled, the ball had stopped seaming and there wasn’t a lot of lateral movement. We were very calm and very clear on what we had to do,” Bumrah stated.

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