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Krunal Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah – The Two Pillars of Mumbai Indians’ Campaign

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: May 22, 2017, 11:50 AM IST
Krunal Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah – The Two Pillars of Mumbai Indians’ Campaign

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New Delhi: Mumbai Indians recorded a stunning 1-run victory over Rising Pune Supergiant to win their third Indian Premier Legaue title in stunning style at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday.

It has a massive team effort throughout the course of the season where their title charge was fuelled by players willing to sacrifice for the benefit of the squad.

Mumbai's campaign hasn't been a story of individuals where few players are shining bright while others are not even justifying their talent with their performances. Take Sunrisers Hyderabad for example — David Warner and Bhuvneshwar Kumar won the orange cap and purple cap respectively, however, their team even failed to make it to the qualifier 2.

Mumbai took rivals apart with their camaraderie and overshadowed individual brilliance with their performances as a unit. However, the Mumbai Juggernaut kept rolling because of the desire of their youngsters. And at the heart of this young brigade were — Krunal Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah.

Krunal — elder brother of Hardik — doesn't usually get the same adulation or recognition as his younger brother, but the 26-year-old goes about his business quietly. In 13 matches that he played for MI this season, Krunal slammed 243 runs with a strike rate of almost 136, while he also ended the campaign with 10 wickets to his name. But it was his ability to bail his team out of crunch situations that really shone the brightest.

Uncapped Krunal played a stellar knock in the final when other established stars were blown away by the Pune bowlers. While he was batting at 15 off 17, Mumbai were reeling at 79 for 7 in the 15th overs.

But what followed was an innings that will be etched in golden letters in Mumbai Indians' history books. Along with Mitchell Johnson, Krunal first steadily moved the innings forward with the help of singles and doubles, but in the last three overs, the southpaw launched a stunning fight back that took RPS by surprise. Two four and two maximums later, there was some respectability added to the Mumbai's score and Krunal had given their bowlers something to defend in the championship clash.

Defending a meagre target of 130 in the final, against the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Steven Smith, MS Dhoni and others was a very task if not impossinle. But if your name is Jasprit Bumrah, nothing is impossible!

Bumrah is regarded as one of the best (if not the best) bowlers of the death overs in the world, and the 23-year-old once again lived up to the billing when it mattered the most. The pacer first set the ball rolling by removing Pune young batting sensation Rahul Tripathi in the third over of the match. Bumrah was reintroduced into the attack in the eigth over of the innings as skipper Rohit Sharma was looking to break the budding Steven Smith and Rahane partnership.

Bumrah was then handed over the ball in 17th over of the match when the frightening pair of Smith and Dhoni were out in the middle. With the stage set and the whole world watching, an unperturbed Bumrah arrived to the place where he belonged — the death overs.

The pacer got rid of the Dhoni and gave away just three runs in the over to firmly put Mumbai in the driver’s seat. While he was hit for 12 runs by a possessed Smith in the penultimate over, he ended the innings with excellent figures of 2/26.

Not just the final, but throughout the course of the season, Bumrah has been skipper Rohit's go-to man whenever the team was in dire straits. With 20 wickets in 16 matches, Bumrah finished the season as the highest wicket-taker for the champions and proved to be the leader of the pace attack that possessed seasoned campaigners like Mitchell Johnson, Lasith Malinga, Mithcell McClenaghan and Tim Southee.

This augurs well for the Indian Cricket Team as performances of young stars in the cash-rich league, gives an option to the think tank of the national team. While Jasprit Bumrah has already become a mainstay for the Men in Blue in the limited-overs format of the game, it is now time for Krunal to shine on the international arena.

First Published: May 22, 2017, 11:48 AM IST

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