Jasprit Bumrah has been unstoppable since his return to India from injury and on Wednesday, the premier pacer further enhanced his reputation by registering his best-ever bowling figures in a World Cup.
Against Afghanistan, Bumrah finished with 4/39, bettering his previous World Cup best figures of 4/55 against Bangladesh at Southampton in 2019. Bumrah’s innings in Delhi played a key role for India, restricting Afghanistan to 272/8 when they looked set to reach the 300 mark at one stage.
Bumrah was menacing with both the new ball and the old ball. He gave away just five runs in his first three overs and after being hit on the first boundary of the day, Bumrah roared in style and dismissed Ibrahim Zadran, who was caught behind with a beautiful over. Bumrah’s second spell remained impressively economical despite failing to secure any wickets. However, it was in his final spell that Bumrah unleashed havoc on the Afghan batsmen as he claimed the crucial wickets of three power-hitters.
Bumrah’s menacing bowling drew hisses from former India opener Gautam Gambhir, who couldn’t help but marvel at the pacer’s brilliance. Describing him as a “phenomenal” bowler, Gambhir firmly believes that Bumrah has a unique quality that sets him apart from the rest. This exceptional quality turns him into an indispensable X-factor for any team he represents, be it India, Mumbai Indians, or any other franchise. It doesn’t matter which team you put him on; Bumrah will shine permanently.
“He’s just a phenomenal performer. He’s just a phenomenal and world-class bowler. I’ve always said and I’ll always say that whichever team Jasprit Bumrah plays for, he has to be your X-factor, be it in Chennai.” or Delhi, whether they bowl with the new ball or the old ball, I haven’t seen many cricketers in this World Cup who can bowl at any stage of the game and have the same impact. Some pass well with the new ball, some pass the ball well at the death, but Bumrah is the one who can mix it up all over,” Gambhir said during the inter-innings break.
Bumrah may still be a long way down the list of Indian bowlers with the best World Cup figures, but today’s performance is a sign of greater things to come. He triggered Afghanistan’s minor collapse by removing Najibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nabi in the same over – the 44th of the innings. Bumrah quickly followed that up by dismissing the dangerous Rashid Khan in his next and final over to see Afghanistan score below 280 in the end.
“It’s not many times that a captain goes after a fast bowler to break through. He either turns to a finger spinner or a wrist spinner so that just shows the quality of this bowler. He got India back on track because at one stage it looked like Afghanistan could have got to 300 and that would have been a challenging total. And the reason it didn’t happen was because Bumrah got Nabi out. He looked dangerous. Like I said, he’s just a very complete bowler,” Gambhir added.
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