Thursday, February 22

How Indian bowlers are driving us closer to ICC Trophy!

Jasprit Bumrah Indian Bowlers
Jasprit Bumrah, one of the best Indian Bowlers.

The cliche, “Batsmen win you games, bowlers win you tournaments,” may have been coined to provide some solace for the selfless sport of bowling in a time when the odds are increasingly stacked against the willow-wielders Nevertheless, the adage perfectly captures India’s five-game World Cup winning streak. The bowling attack’s unspoken efficiency has been the underlining of India’s campaign, despite the batsmen’s ability to make mincemeat of mediocre totals.

The Indian top-order’s ability to hunt down targets with surprising ease and plenty of extra runs emphasises how important it is for the bowling unit to limit opponents to low totals on the same conditions.

Teams are strangled without realising it as the assignment is completed with unassuming expertise and a tempo that increases gradually. It is safe to conclude that the first PowerPlay’s setup is subtle given that it yielded just five wickets in five matches.

But a dot-ball percentage of more than 67 in the opening 10 overs has made sure that the opposition can’t take advantage of the paucity of wickets upfront. With his subtle movements both on and off the pitch, the legendary Jasprit Bumrah keeps the batters at their knees.

Mohammed Siraj frequently overpitches due to his excitement, but it also helps him get the occasional wicket. While sedate starts have been a recurring theme after 22 matches in the tournament, India’s economy of 4.74 during this phase is especially noteworthy given that the average run rate of teams who have won batting first is 5.63 in the first 10 overs.

It is often believed that the middle overs are the worst part of One-Day International cricket. The batters are exhausted from the intense heat, and their worn-out energy seeps into the game’s tempo. The Indian attack chooses to launch itself just when the opponent is getting ready to pounce.

It mostly achieves this by applying dot-ball pressure, as Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav tear through the overs. India is one of just two teams competing in the competition; the other is South Africa, which at this stage has a dot-ball percentage of above 50. Its economy of less than five runs per over is by far the strongest during this phase of play, which frequently proves crucial when faced with diminishing PowerPlay and death-over returns.

India’s success has been greatly attributed to Kuldeep’s ability to rejuvenate his career and take wickets, but the pace attack’s early dominance has allowed the spinners to settle into their roles.

The fact that India will have two left-arm spinners of different classifications to dominate the middle over the World Cup has been interesting to watch, even though R. Ashwin’s off-spin was a late addition to the team.

Their goals have been different. Jadeja has taken on a new duty as the run-stifler, while a revitalised Kuldeep has resumed his job as a wicket-taking machine.

This World Cup, the Kookaburra ball has been discolouring quickly due to the Indian weather. As a result, spinners have been essential before the seamers arrive to use reverse swing in the closing stages. Since returning to the ODI team in February 2022, Kuldeep has found newfound momentum. He has only given up more than six runs per over in one innings while bowling his allotted ten overs. In 2023, the wrist-spinner has continued to top the charts for taking wickets between overs 11 and 40. Kuldeep has taken 36 wickets from 18 innings at an economy of just 4.55, averaging a mere 18.66 during the phase. Early in 2023, after a protracted injury hiatus, Jadeja also upped his game in terms of taking wickets. Despite still moving through his overs quickly, the 34-year-old has taken wickets at a strike rate of 39.3, which is among his best seasons in a 14-year career. Jadeja has taken 20 wickets in 17 games this year, more than any other left-arm finger spinner.

The support team under the direction of Rahul Dravid deserves praise as well for helping this unusual spin tandem succeed. Yuzvendra Chahal was one of India’s top wicket-takers in the format since 2020, but the team management took a risk by excluding him from the World Cup equation.

kuldeep yadav
Kuldeep Yadav

Kuldeep and Jadeja have also been able to rapidly recover from the infrequent off days in between and settle into their roles thanks to the little chopping and changing.

Because of his spells, Kuldeep needs a steady supply of confidence. Only after Mohammed Shami broke a 159-run partnership for the third wicket did Kuldeep find triumph after being bowled out for 61 runs in seven wicketless overs against the Kiwis. Siraj had disrupted an alarming stand against Pakistan by dismissing Babar Azam with a cross-seam delivery.

And then the spinners showed there, causing a collapse.

In his debut World Cup encounter, Shami showed why he would be the envy of any other attack in the world, just as Hardik Pandya’s injury during his opening over against Bangladesh appeared to throw a monkey in the works. India’s archenemy, New Zealand, was taken aback by his deceit in the second half of the innings and his upright seam presentation with the new ball.

Bumrah’s nuclear-tipped yorkers and speed variations, which have contributed to the team’s economy of 5.4 in the last 10 overs — the best in the competition — are likely to stop teams in their tracks if they are looking to build towards a spectacular finish.

While the squad worried about the form and fitness of its main hitters, India’s bowling went unnoticed before to the World Cup. Of the 22 teams that have played one-day cricket, India has the highest bowling average during the past 12 months. Bumrah was the lone missing component, adding a modern touch and fitting into the jigsaw puzzle perfectly.

Perhaps ironically, Shardul Thakur has surpassed Shami to the starting XI in an established batting unit as a result of the search for strength deeper down the order. However, Bumrah, Shami, and Siraj demonstrated against the Kiwis in their first ODI that having a world-class bowling trio that can bowl in all weather conditions would eliminate the need for lower-order insurance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *