Indian pace bowling spearhead Jasprit Bumrah was once again at his menacing best as he helped the Men in Blue beat Afghanistan in a tense World Cup match that went all the way down to the wire in Southampton.
With 32 needed off the last four overs, Afghanistan had a very good chance of upsetting the Men in Blue and consigning India to their first defeat of the tournament on Saturday. However, Bumrah’s two fine overs, which saw the pacer hit the yorker length consistently, and Shami’s hat-trick when 12 were needed off the last five balls took India over the line.
Bumrah was also key to India pulling the game back midway through the innings when he came in the 29th over to remove two set players in Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi when Afghanistan were decently placed.
For his figures of 2/39 off his 10 overs, the Mumbai pacer was adjudged the Player of the Match.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, the 25-year-old pacer acknowledged captain Virat Kohli’s faith in him that helps in his execution and said: “It gives you a lot of confidence when the captain has so much trust on you. That gives me a lot of confidence to express myself and helps me keep a clear head in terms of how I want to execute.”
“Over here, we saw that wicket was getting slower and slower. So, with the older ball, we needed to be more accurate and bowl stump to stump.
“This is a big ground and there was reverse swing, but we needed to rely on slowers and yorkers as well and play according to the situation. It was a tight game and I backed my yorkers,” he added.
Bumrah was also full of praise for Shami, who picked up a hat-trick and sealed the deal for India in the final over of the game. “Shami getting a hat-trick is very good because such performances lead to healthy competition in the side,” he said.
“We are a well-knit unit and us bowlers always discuss what our plans are, we should do on the field and how things are going. It’s certainly a good sign when everyone is chipping in with the wickets,” he added.
Bumrah has so far taken seven wickets in four matches of the tournament so far.