Jasprit Bumrah’s art is familiar and his influence in the Indian Premier League was expected, but his effect has been awe-inspiring nonetheless. Moreover, he peaked as the tournament progressed, reserving his best for the all-important business end. Despite having finished second in the list of highest wicket-takers this season, he is our pick for the bowler of the tournament.
Bumrah finished with 27 wickets in 15 matches, behind Delhi Capitals fast bowler Kagiso Rabada (30). Besides being lethal with the new ball and old, he was economical (ER: 6.73).
Bumrah is a reliable wicket-taker and his effectiveness stems from his ability to bring discomfort to the batsman. He creates a unique angle when he delivers the ball, both to left-handers and to right; many times, the ball skids on with the angle and thuds into the pads before the batsman has a chance of reacting to it, and occasionally, it pitches and does not come in with the angle. The batsman is hurried by the pace, and he either nicks behind or is out leg-before-wicket.
In his arsenal is also the famous yorker, which is hard to deal with for the best of batsmen when delivered well. The yorker to Kings XI Punjab’s K. L. Rahul on October 18 was so good that Rahul, batting on 77, couldn’t dig it out safely and was out bowled. He delivered a similar one to Shikhar Dhawan in Qualifier 1; Dhawan was clueless about that one as the ball came in with the angle from over-the-wicket and darted into the base of off-stump.
He also troubles the batsmen with the short delivery which is well-directed. It comes in with the angle, straight at the head.
The fact that he bowls at express pace — over 145kph — makes his deliveries harder to deal with for the batsmen. The batsman has less reaction time and relies on instinct.
Bumrah picked up three wickets and registered an economy rate of less than five in both of Mumbai Indians’ wins in its final two matches in the group stage. In Qualifier 1, he registered figures of four for 14, dismissing Dhawan for a duck and the well-set Marcus Stoinis — then batting on 65 — with a delivery that pitched on a good length and snuck through Stoinis’ defence to flatten the leg-stump.
Bumrah is one big reason why Mumbai Indians won the IPL title.