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ICC Cricket World Cup 2023: With 4/39 on Batters’ Paradise, Jasprit Bumrah Puts on a Show – News18

ICC Cricket World Cup 2023: India’s Jasprit Bumrah (AP)

Spread across three spells, Jasprit Bumrah’s 4/39 was an exhibition of control, accuracy and consistency

On a hot afternoon in New Delhi, Jasprit Bumrah showed what India missed during his time away from cricket due to a back injury. The speedster’s 4/39 vs Afghanistan in the 2023 World Cup contest were his best figures in seven outings since return but what made those numbers more special was the nature of the surface it came on.

Ever since South Africa and Sri Lanka put on a run-feast during the first World Cup match at this venue, the “low and slow Kotla pitch” is now a thing of the past. The re-laid square is made of pure black soil and sticks to the true nature through the match. After the SA-SL contest, the fifty overs of Afghanistan innings gave another true account of the bounce and carry, and why it is likely to remain a paradise for batters.

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Even on this batters’ haven, Bumrah unzipped his bag of skills and put on a real show – spread across three high-quality spells. Right from his opening over, there was encouraging carry as KL Rahul collected deliveries comfortably near the waistline and Bumrah used that to his advantage.

The right-armer kept pinging the good length spot and the deliveries continued to straighten after pitching. Pin-point accuracy, incisive angles and seam movement both ways dominated his opening spell where he returned with figures of 4-0-9-1.

The Rash moment!

The delivery to get rid of Ibrahim Zadran was a work of art and the artist Bumrah was using applying the right strokes on a not-so-ideal canvas. He finds Zadran’s edge, points to his temple and triggered thousands of “Bumrah’s Marcus Rashford celebration” posts on social media.

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Throughout his opening spell, Bumrah looked like picking a wicket any moment and even as Mohammed Siraj continued to spray it all over the pitch, he stuck to his plan and kept the batters guessing. The breakthrough finally came with a delivery which straightened ever-so-slightly to find Zadran’s outside edge and KL did the rest behind the stumps.

Every time he rushed the batters with pace or cut them in half with a sharp inward moment, there was a reminder of the skills in his kitty and why those aren’t dependent on surfaces.

Penetration across spells

Not just surfaces, even different periods of play saw a different Bumrah in operation but all had the same level of efficiency. If it was the angles and seam movement in the opening spell, the focus shifted to bouncers, slower ones and the length was just pushed back a tad bit to make shot-making difficult.

He didn’t taste any success in the three overs he sent down with the oldish ball, but continued to keep the flow of runs down and conceded just one boundary. The 4-0-9-1 became 7-0-21-1 and the second spell was dominated by change in pace, lengths and angles too.

The wickets finally came, and came in a bunch, during his third and final spell where he picked three wickets and gave a timely reminder of his death-bowling skills. That period of play saw Bumrah operate with a clear plan where there were sharp yorkers, slower bouncers and plenty of deliveries touching around the 140 kmph mark.

He struck twice in the 46th over to land a severe blow on any Afghan hope of a late acceleration and applied the necessary brakes to keep the opposition to under 300. The 7-0-21-1 became 10-0-39-4 after another brilliant spell and gave an account of Bumrah’s skills in different phases of the match.

This was his second four-wicket haul in a World Cup fixture and he has now joined Ashish Nehra, Javagal Srinath, Umesh Yadav and Yuvraj Singh in an elite list of individuals with 2 or more four-wicket hauls. The list is headed by Mohammed Shami, who is on the bench, who has four World Cup four-fers.

In this World Cup, India will play at seven more venues after this fixture and all will have surfaces different from each other. For the hosts, it shouldn’t be a concern because their ace, who is not dependent on the surface below or the clouds above, is all warmed up now.

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