<
>

Bumrah's T20I exploits

With his unorthodox bowling action and his excellent death-bowling skills, Jasprit Bumrah has become a force to be reckoned with in limited-overs cricket, and especially in the 20-over format. In 2016, Bumrah's 28 wickets was the most by any bowler in T20Is, and they came at an excellent economy rate of 6.62. He has continued with that form with an excellent series against England in 2017, taking five wickets in three games at an economy rate of 6.20. The last of those wickets was also Bumrah's 100th in all Twenty20 matches, making him the 14th Indian seamer to reach the mark.

What makes Bumrah special, though, is his ability to keep his nerve and consistently win the death-over battles in situations where the odds are stacked against the bowler. In the last five, Bumrah has taken 20 wickets, which is 60% of his total haul, at an average of 12 and an economy rate of less than seven. Among the bowlers who have bowled at least 12 overs at the death (16th to 20th overs) since the start of 2016, only two - Mohammad Naveed of the UAE and Bangladesh's Mustafizur Rahman - have better economy rates.

The numbers continue to look good for Bumrah even in tough slog-over situations, in chases when the opposition teams have five or more wickets in hand going into the last five overs. In such situations too, Bumrah's economy rate remains an impressive 7.08, only marginally higher than his overall slog-over economy rate of 6.85.

Bumrah's low economy rate in the last five overs is a direct consequence of an excellent balls-per-boundary ratio. While most other bowlers concede, on average, a four or a six every over, Bumrah concedes one every nine balls. By giving fewer boundary opportunities, Bumrah forces the batsmen to take greater risks which results in wickets.

For the Indian team, Bumrah's emergence is a huge blessing as the team has often struggled to find bowlers who can effectively control the scoring rate at the death. Bumrah has bowled 211 out of 535 balls in the last five, which means nearly 40% of his total overs have been bowled when batsmen are on overdrive. Among all Indian bowlers who have bowled at least 12 overs at the death in T20Is, his percentage is easily the highest, followed by Ishant Sharma (15 overs out of 46.2, ER 11.20) and Ashish Nehra (27 overs out of 94, ER 9.19). A look at the economy rates of other Indian bowlers who have bowled fairly significantly in the death overs also illustrates just have valuable Bumrah's addition has been to the Indian team.

Bumrah's superior death-bowling skills compared to his other Indian colleagues also comes through when comparing his numbers with the combined stats of the Indian bowlers who bowled from the other end during his spells. In those spells when Bumrah bowled his 35.1 overs, the other Indian bowlers sent down 30.4 overs, went at eight an over, and conceded a boundary every six balls. Bumrah's economy rate and his lower rate of conceding boundaries are the numbers that stand out here.

Bumrah's length map, shown in the table below, indicates just how well he mixes up lengths to keep the batsmen guessing. His control over the yorker is exceptional, and that shows through in the numbers: he has bowled 28 of them, conceded only 13 runs, and taken four wickets. He has also been effective when bowling a good length and full length, though the short balls and full tosses haven't earned him much success. (Along with the changes in lengths, the variations in pace have also been a key component of his bowling, something that isn't visible through the numbers below.)

In the Nagpur T20I, Bumrah conceded just one run (plus a leg-bye) in the last over, thus denying England victory when they needed eight. It was the 17th time in a T20I that Bumrah had gone at a run a ball or less in the last four overs (17th to 20th overs). Bumrah has achieved this 17 times out of the 32 instances when he has bowled during this period. (This includes instances when a team is bowled out in the last over, with the bowler conceding less than a run a ball in that over.) The percentage of 53.13 is second only to Kyle Abbott, among bowlers who have bowled 25-plus overs during this phase of a T20I innings.

MS Dhoni had often complained about the need for India to improve their bowling in the death overs. With Bumrah's entry, that call has, to a large extent, been answered.