Bumrah outshines AB-Kohli Duet as MI hold their nerves against RCB
T20 cricket, especially the IPL, makes for all ingredients of a classical show that has all sorts of entertainment, drama and a bite at glory for the truest of the cricket loyalties. And T20 classics are forgotten very easily, blame it on such classics tending to happen frequently. It is unfortunate however that a game of high stakes and overflowing with entertainment for everyone till the 239 balls of the game will be remembered for the 240th(which wasn’t even a legal delivery). In a stadium of acres, with bats of kilos, with runs in centuries, how small margins play their part is what separates this game apart. When MI and RCB played one of best games of the IPL last night, all eyes were set on Virat Kohli, Bumrah and Rohit Sharma. Putting MI to bat first, a run scoring feast was on the cards with Rohit and De Kock going from it Bowl 1. After losing both of them quickly, SKY and Yuvi took centre stage and in a nostalgic bid to ensure entertainment, Yuvraj smashed three back to back sixes and looked set for another three before getting out trying the 4th. How everyone in the stadium, the reds and the blues alike, gave him a thunderous reception, shows what a champion he has been for the country. Yuzvendra Chahal, who takes pride in tossing the bowl up succeeded in everything that he did as he scalped out 4 wickets on a ground that bowlers dread coming onto. After losing their game midway, Hardik Pandya switched on the beast mode and hit it “Out of the Park” literally to help Mumbai notch a decent 187. Once Mumbai were restricted to 187 on a wonderful M Chinnaswamy Stadium track, RCB’s chances depended on how the Kohli-Bumrah and de Villiers-Bumrah battle would play out. RCB started decently with Moeen Ali and PP looking in fine touches and once Kohli came onto bat, It was the promised Bumrah vs Kohli battle upon everyone. Kohli won the first battle putting Bumrah away for three successive boundaries and the RCB crowd were up and running. Much credit for the MI victory must go to how Markande and Krunal kept things tight in the middle overs and that meant the Required rate kept creeping up. For all we know, Virat Kohli, unlike Dhoni, loves to stay ahead of the runchase and he decided to switch gears and in taking Bumrah to more, he perished. Bumrah showed the world, how to get it done. Aim it short, speedy and on the body and beat him for pace, something that Johnson did in the WC 2015 Semifinal. Kohli hardly gets beaten for pace, but tonight was to be different. The euphoria from Bumrah died rather quickly. The Kohli threat had been neutralised and the challenge was done and dusted. But the game wasn’t. ABD played like he the Superman and once the equation was down to 41 from 4 overs, RCB sensed the victory. But the threat of 2 overs from Bumrah was still on them and how. He Just gave 1 away in the 17th over and ABD sent Pandya smashing away in the next to bring it down to 22 off 2. The plan from de Villiers was simple – with the fine-leg in, he was going to try and scoop Bumrah knowing the pacer was set to target the yorker length. This is where de Villiers is a master at shattering the confidence of the bowlers – premeditating and translating his instincts into big hits. On the second ball, de Villiers got what he wanted only to find himself defeated. A yorker, as expected, was fired in. And while it was shot at 150.6 kph, more than the pace it was the line that beat de Villiers. The right-hander shuffled outside off but found the delivery aimed at his right leg near the wide line. A leg bye was picked up before Bumrah gave five in the over to leave Lasith Malinga 17 to defend. You would back RCB to win with ABD in the centre and given this is Chinnaswamy. In a night when Kohli took the upper hand on Bumrah, it was the latter who had the last laugh. It was the first time RCB lost with de Villiers unbeaten in a chase. Soon after the final ball, Bumrah picked the throw, whipped the bails off, patted Shivam Dube on the back and walked off with a usual expression on his face. No wild celebrations, just a smile, no Over the top energy, It was so routinely serene. This is his life. MI had no business winning the contest. Kohli delivered. De Villiers delivered. And yet, the visitors managed to squeeze in a win. That’s the might of Bumrah. When Bumrah bowled to de Villiers and Kohli, everything took a backseat as the fans watched in awe. It wasn’t bullying. It was never meant to be. It was mesmerising. It was ineffable. It was a night that should be remembered for the theatre created by Bumrah against two of the best. Unfortunately, it won’t be.