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Match Analysis

Mumbai have a cheat code and his name is Jasprit Bumrah

He has the Purple Cap. He also has an economy rate of 5.95 for the season. What do you do against him?

Sidharth Monga
Sidharth Monga
Jasprit Bumrah had already bowled one over and got Virat Kohli out when he was brought back to bowl the 11th over of the Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) innings. That first over hadn't registered much on the Impact Scale for two reasons: the predicted score in ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats doesn't move readily with early overs, and the value of getting Kohli's wicket early is debatable anyway.
Be that as it may, when Bumrah started the 11th over, the predicted score for RCB was 202. Faf du Plessis and Rajat Patidar had weathered the early storm and were in full flow. Du Plessis was 39 off 26, Patidar 36 off 19. With a four-run 11th over, Bumrah brought the predicted score to 189. It was 191 when Bumrah started the 17th over, and six balls later he had brought it down to 181 with the wickets of du Plessis and Mahipal Lomror.
These two Bumrah overs came on the back of 13- and 19-run overs, which had given RCB the hope of fighting towards an above-par total, which you need at venues such as the Wankhede Stadium where dew plays a big role in the second innings. Only for Bumrah to crush that hope. And come back and do it again.
Shiva Jayaraman has put Bumrah's abiliity to crush hopes in numbers, beautifully: he has now dismissed more set batters - those batting on 30 or more - than anyone else in the IPL: 38. Then again, you are likely to get such wickets if you bowl a lot at the death because batters are obligated to take risks. The wickets aren't a great number on their own. What makes it great is that Bumrah has the best economy rate of any bowler since his debut, and the fifth-best overall, among fast bowlers when bowling to set batters in the IPL: just 8.01.
So Bumrah gets more set batters out and concedes fewer runs to them than any other fast bowler. If you are Mumbai Indians in big old 2024, you need all of that because your other bowlers have yet to turn up. Bumrah holds the Purple Cap at the moment, and he's also going at an economy rate of 5.95, which is 4.22 per over better than the second-most frugal bowler in his side (among those who have bowled at least 10 overs this season). Mumbai are conceding at least 67 more than they would if they had five Bumrahs.
Eventually, Dinesh Karthik did some special things to take RCB to 196, but by the time the night was over, it was clear they needed the runs they would have with one fewer Bumrah in the opposition attack. The frustration of facing the Bumrah overs was evident in du Plessis' voice at the post-match presentation.
"He has been the difference in the two innings," du Plessis said of Bumrah. "If you look at the way the teams bowled, I think we put them under pressure as well in terms of their bowlers, but the one guy, being out there myself, every time you see him get the ball in his hands, you feel like you want to put him under pressure, but the variety in his skillset makes it so hard.
"He runs in with the same action, bowls a fast yorker, and then with that exact same action he bowls a slower ball that probably has the biggest variation. Then he has a really good bouncer. He has got so many options. You know you can bring him on and he can get you that wicket, but he can also be defensive [when needed]."
To have so many options and to know when to use what comes from the hard work at training and preparation, and match experience. "This format is very harsh on the bowler," Bumrah said. "So you have to have all kinds of skills. This is what I train for. That come this situation, I should have different options. I should not be a one-trick pony. I should just not rely on my yorker because there will be days where my execution is off so I can rely on another delivery. So this is what I had worked on early on in my career as well. Everybody's doing their research. Data and all of that comes in. So people start to line you up. So I wanted to have different skills so very happy that I could use it."
The preparation is not just repetitions in the nets. "You have to have bad days to learn from it," Bumrah said. "What I have done in the past is that whenever I've had a bad day, next day, on a calm mind, I've seen the videos. What does not work, why did it not work? What is the way I've been playing? So all of these things, you have to be with the curve because nowadays you just cannot come on the day and say okay, I'll do this, maybe this will work.
"For me, preparation is always the key. When you prepare hard, you put yourself under pressure in the nets, you bowl to batters who can hit big sixes. You bowl to them, you see how you react to stress, you see how you react to pressure. Then you find start finding answers. It is very, very important for me to keep pushing myself in training. Then on game day you have answers that, okay, when I had similar pressure in training, I had answers."
That may be so, but we now know that Suryakumar Yadav has not faced Bumrah in the nets for the last two-three years. He has actually formally requested the Mumbai management to not make him face Bumrah in order to protect his bats and toes. It's a big favour Suryakumar is doing Bumrah's opponents because just imagine how much better Bumrah would be if he pushed himself even more in the nets.

Sidharth Monga is a senior writer at ESPNcricinfo