Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s and Jasprit Bumrah’s early wickets helped India in Pune. (Source: BCCI video screenshot)
Dinesh Karthik and Shikhar Dhawan’s half-centuries may have been what helped India successfully chase down the 231-run target that New Zealand set for them in Pune but a far bigger total would have been looming in front of them had it not been for the early Kiwi wickets that fell. Those wickets were taken by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. Kumar took out openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munroe while Bumrah chipped in with the all-important wicket of Blackcaps’ skipper Kane Williamson, all inside the first seven overs.
The BCCI then posted a video of the two speaking about their plans after the match ended. Bhuvneshwar said that he only changed his approach to Munroe. Munroe had helped New Zealand get off to a good start in the first ODI. “In the last match he went after us so I had a plan for him. I tried to bowl a few knuckleballs and then some bouncers to him,” said Bhuvneshwar. It was a knuckleball that Munroe in the end.
— BCCI (@BCCI) 26 October 2017
Both players spoke about how they developed their variations. While Bumrah said that he mastered the slower ball during the 2017 Indian Premier League, Bhuvneshwar had perfected his deceptive knuckle-ball during the Test series against Australia just before it. “I developed it just before the IPL during the Test matches. In India, the ball doesn’t swing much and you have two fielders in catching (positions) so keeping that in mind I developed that thing. I didn’t know that it would come handy in T20Is and ODIs,” he said. Bumrah, on the other hand, admitted that he couldn’t be dependent on his yorkers all the time and thus developed the slower ball. “You have to have more than one tricks to fool the batsmen. So I have been using it (the slower delivery) since quite a long time. Ill probably use it more in the matches to come,” he said.
Bhuvneshwar also said that the win in Pune is only a reflection of the team’s character. If New Zealand had won, it would have led to a series defeat for India, something that has not happened since Virat Kohli took over as captain earlier in the year. “It is a short series and when you are one down it is very difficult to come back, so (the win) shows the character of the team. As a bowling and batting unit, we did really well.”