He was the most expensive bowler of the match - from both the teams - in the Indian Premier League (IPL) opener between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Mumbai Indians (MI) in Abu Dhabi. He went for 14 in his first over bowled within the powerplay and 11 of the 19th. Jasprit Bumrah - India's leading pace bowler and one of the best in the world hadn't had a great start to his IPL 2020 campaign. He was tonked for 4 fours and a couple of sixes and went for 43 in his 4 overs - conceding at 10.75 runs per over - this was Bumrah's fifth-most expensive spell in the IPL!
Fast forward to the 18th of October.
KXIP are off to a flyer in their pursuit of MI's 176 in Dubai. Bumrah provides the first breakthrough getting rid of Mayank Agarwal in the 4th over of the chase. He returns to break a potentially match-threatening partnership between KL Rahul and Nicholas Pooran dismissing the latter for 24 off just 12 deliveries. A few more overs of Pooran and KXIP would have raced to victory. Bumrah's figures after his first couple of overs read: 2 overs, 4 runs, 2 wickets. He is taken to the cleaners in the 16th and smacked for 15 but just when KXIP thought they had the match in their bags, Bumrah bowls a peach of a delivery - a yorker at 149 kms per hour uprooting the off stump of Rahul. He concedes just 5 runs in the crucial 18th over. The match ends in a tie. But Bumrah isn't done. He bags the wickets of Pooran and Rahul for the second time in the match and restricts KXIP to just 5 in the first Super Over. So, in the final analysis, Bumrah returned with 5-29 in 5 overs in the match.
This was Bumrah at his devastating and lethal best!
It has been a remarkable turnaround for the Indian speedster in the tournament. Bumrah looked rusty and a bit out of sorts in the first few matches. He was not getting his rhythm right and not only not picking wickets but also getting hit around for plenty - a very rare phenomenon with Bumrah. He was smashed for 4 sixes in the match against KKR conceding 32 off his 4 overs, went wicketless going for 42 against RCB and again went for 41 against SRH. Overall, Bumrah picked 7 wickets and was taken for 187 runs in 21 overs (including the Super Over against RCB) at an economy rate of 8.9 in his first five matches. He was hammered for 11 sixes in these encounters. Barring his performance against KXIP (2-18 in 4 overs), he was hit for at least two sixes in every match.
Then came the transformation.
Bumrah had bowled first change or second change in the first five matches. He opened the bowling for the first time in the tournament against the Royals in Abu Dhabi. And was back at his lethal best! Bumrah got the wicket of the skipper, Steven Smith in the powerplay and returned to see the back of the dangerous Rahul Tewatia, Shreyas Gopal and Jofra Archer. He ended with 4-20 in 4 overs.
Although Bumrah has gone back to bowling first change, something changed in him - as if there was a trigger - when he took the new ball against RR. There has been a dramatic change in his performances and the Bumrah of old was back! He was the most restrictive bowler against the Capitals giving away just 26 off his 4 overs. He picked the big wicket of Andre Russell and gave away just 22 runs against KKR before producing his best performance of the tournament against RCB. Bumrah has been hit for just one six in the last 4 matches.
Not only has Bumrah's strike rate improved but his economy rate has gone from 8.9 in the first 5 matches to just 5.71 in the last four.
The yorkers are back. The accuracy is back. The speed is back. Bumrah is back!