Lucknow, Oct 30: Asked to set a total for the first time in the ongoing Men’s ODI World Cup, India huffed and puffed their way to 229/9 on a tough two-paced pitch. Reaching that total which looked competitive yet below-par at the half-way stage was made possible by captain Rohit Sharma's gritty 87.
In reply, England had scored 30 runs off their first 27 balls, indicating that the chase could be a cakewalk due to dew, a point which was made firm by super soppers coming into action at the innings break, leaving the crowd in pin-drop silence.
But Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami had other plans in store – making 46,000 fans in the stadium watch a breath-taking masterpiece of fast-bowling, leaving them roaring loudly in delight, as if they were watching an action movie in 4k UHD format.
Dawid Malan went for a cut on a fifth stump delivery from Bumrah which didn’t bounce much and he could only get an inside edge to shatter his stumps. Bumrah then trapped Joe Root plumb lbw with a skiddy delivery which kept low, with the batter burning a review.
With Mohammed Siraj leaking runs, Rohit brought Shami into the attack quickly and began by beating Ben Stokes consistently by pitching deliveries on the good length from around the wicket.
A frustrated Stokes tried to smash Shami down the ground and exposed his three sticks, but was castled swiftly by a nip-backer off the seam. There was no end to England’s trouble as Jonny Bairstow got an inside edge on the pads while trying to cut off Shami and the ball rolled onto the stumps.
England’s scoreboard read 39/4 and that was enough for Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja to join the wicket-takers party, with Shami and Bumrah taking more scalps at the end to bowl the visitors’ out for 129, as India raced back to top of points table.
“Very critical – I thought that in terms of defending a small target, the conditions was not easy – dew was out there and the wicket got flatter. Wickets, especially in the power-play, are important. But simply the way they bowled and came back to pick up those wickets laid the foundation for us and the other bowlers could just build on from there – fabulous spell from both of them,” said India bowling coach Paras Mhambrey in the mixed zone after the match ended, left in awe of his senior fast-bowlers bowling the hosts' to their sixth win on the trot.
He threw light on the keys behind preparation work done with the bowlers, especially Shami and Bumrah, which is based around man management at the international level. “Honestly, they have played enough cricket and understand their bowling inside-out. There’s not much in terms of technical bit, but it’s all about tactical and it’s nice to see all the planning that goes through gets executed.”
“The bottom-line is, if you execute your stuff and plans, this is what happens. It’s all about execution and credit goes to them. It’s not only about me – there’s Rahul Dravid, Vikram Rathour, T Dilip, who do a lot of work behind the scenes and have lots of discussions. It’s all about execution and when it comes through, it looks good.”
As Bumrah and Shami broke the back of England’s batting with scorching spells of 3-32 and 4-22 respectively, Mhambrey pointed out that the bowling group is aware of their roles and responsibility in the team, while adding that an update on injured Hardik Pandya can come in coming days.
“Honestly, when you have this kind of skill in the team – like Shami brings in – you don’t really need to have a discussion or think something differently. These guys have played enough cricket, understand the responsibility and what is expected of them for the team and they just simply delivered.”
“The quality of bowlers we have in the team and the experience they bring to the table just makes my job easier. The medical team is handling it and we are in touch with Hardik plus the NCA. Hopefully, we will get an update in couple of days for sure.”
Mhambrey also felt India could have got more runs with the bat in an innings where many fell to dot-ball pressure and perished in a bid to go big. “Everyone got an opportunity here to bat, which was important. With the way Virat, Rohit and Shubman have been playing, the middle-order didn’t get the opportunity to bat, though KL Rahul did get the opportunity in Chennai. So, it was important for all to get an opportunity and this was one such game.”
“But the conditions were very difficult to bat upon – it was not coming well on to the bat and turned a bit. Despite that, they played well and we will analyse this as a team when we sit together. I feel that there are some areas which need improvement.”
“There could have been 30-40 runs added more into the target, considering how the wicket was. But we will take a lesson from this game, with the batters and bowlers discussing among themselves so that we can put up a better performance in the next game.”
Mhambrey signed off by saying maintaining the winning momentum and ticking some boxes is the key for the Indian team on an unbeaten streak as the business end of the league stage comes up. “It’s extremely important to carry the momentum. It’s a World Cup and every game is important. You need to keep ticking boxes some boxes in every game and this was a challenging game.”
“We needed this game as well as we actually batted first for the first time and defended a small total in tough conditions and dew – lots of things against us as bowlers. But just the way we came back and fought – just so incredible. So, no such thing of hiccups or whatever – every game is important for us; momentum too important in a World Cup.”