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Superhuman Jasprit Bumrah is in a league of his own

Last updated on 14 Oct 2023 | 05:14 PM
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Superhuman Jasprit Bumrah is in a league of his own

Untouchable in the powerplay, unplayable with the old ball - in ODI cricket, Bumrah is the best in the business

Mohammad Rizwan outfoxed and defeated by a wicked off-cutter.

Shadab Khan undone by a ripsnorter of a thunderbolt that straightened after pitching.

Moments after Kuldeep Yadav rattled Pakistan with his double-strike, Jasprit Bumrah delivered the knockout punch with two dismissals that had his signature fully imprinted in them. 

This was Bumrah at his very best. Vintage Bumrah, if you can call it that.

But long before the two dismissals, 30 overs prior to be precise, Bumrah had already shown why he’s the best in the business. 

In unforgiving conditions for new-ball bowling — no swing, poor carry & negligible lateral movement — the 29-year-old started off with 0/5 off his first 3 overs, bowling to a right-left combination. 

If you’re really wondering if these are figures that are special, here’s what his partner Mohammed Siraj, statistically the best new-ball bowler in ODI cricket in the past two years, managed from the other end: 3-0-22-0, leaking as many as four boundaries.

Here’s the thing, though. It was not this particular new-ball burst that established that Bumrah is in a league of his own. 

What made it evident that Bumrah is the best in the business was the fact that he managed a flawless new-ball spell for the third game running, all in completely different conditions, after also suffocating batters in the 11-40 and 41-50 phase in both of India’s first two matches.

Yeah it must be illegal to be this good.

There is so much to unpack, but let’s start with raw data. 

You can see from the chart below how Bumrah has been light years ahead of any other pacer in this World Cup so far. It’s almost borderline comical how clear he is. 

But don’t let your mind get blown, yet — there’s a lot more to come.

Bumrah has put up these numbers while bowling 37% of his overs in this competition in arguably the flattest deck any World Cup has ever seen, the Arun Jaitley Stadium track in Delhi. 

At a venue in which the scoring rate has been over 7.00, Bumrah managed to go at under 4.00, while taking FOUR WICKETS! 

These are all remarkable, but there’s something even more astounding: he’s done all this while his fellow seamers from the other end have struggled to bring even a semblance of control, notwithstanding the surface. 

So far this World Cup, Bumrah has bowled a total of 105 balls to Top 6 batters while going at an E.R of 3.2. 

Siraj, Pandya and Thakur combinedly have been twice as expensive and three times less potent.

The numbers are even more lop-sided when it comes to effectiveness in the powerplay.

It is with the new-ball that teams look to set the tone as a unit, but for India, it’s just been one man hitting the right notes. 

Luckily, he’s been so good that his brilliance has dwarfed the ineffectiveness of the rest.

It is worth delving a bit deeper into Bumrah’s new-ball prowess in this tournament. We are in the midst of a historically high-scoring World Cup and Bumrah, with the new ball, has managed to go at under 3.00 — when no other pacer that’s bowled a minimum of 8 overs in the 1-10 phase has managed to go under an ER of 4.5.

He’s managed to do so thanks to impeccable control over the lengths he’s bowled. The 29-year-old has bowled 72 balls in the powerplay in this World Cup and has overpitched once. ONCE

Not losing your length in one game is commendable, but Bumrah has displayed inch-perfect accuracy thrice across completely different conditions. The aspect of the conditions being different can’t be highlighted enough, for the ‘ideal length’ is different on each surface. 

Bumrah somehow adapted to each surface from the get go and kept hammering the ‘ideal length’ on each track, not giving an inch to the batters. 

He hasn’t erred on his lines, either. No width offered whatsoever, not more than a couple of loose deliveries down leg. It’s mighty impressive when you factor in that two of the three teams he’s faced have had a left-right combination up top.

And then finally there’s the small matter of what he’s capable of doing (and has done) with the old-ball. Cutters, yorkers, bouncers, the ability to reverse the ball lethally. 

He finished Pakistan off today with the Rizwan and Shadab wickets but also impacted the Australia and Afghanistan games with the older ball. The dismissals of Pat Cummins and Mohammad Nabi / Najibullah helped shave off at least 25-30 runs in the respective matches. 

We looked at how lethal Bumrah has been with the new ball but here’s an equally fun fact: Bumrah has the best economy for any seamer in this World Cup in the 11-40 phase (ER 2.8) and has taken the joint-most wickets at the death (41-50 phase) while having an economy under 6.00.

The absurdity of what Bumrah’s been doing in this World Cup only truly hits you when you realize that this is a man coming on the back of a serious stress fracture that kept him out of action for a year.  

Put simply, what Bumrah’s been doing is not normal. You don’t do stuff like this unless you’re one of the greatest ever to have graced the game.

For the longest time, people have hesitated to put Bumrah in the ‘GOAT’ bracket due to the longevity factor but there is no bigger sign of greatness than an individual dominating two separate World Cups. 

Bumrah is bowling himself into the Hall of Fame right in front of our eyes — we’re all blessed to be witnessing it. 

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