India vs WI: Bhuvneshwar Kumar finds form in slog-over heroics
The half-centuries from Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant as well as the contribution of Venkatesh Iyer aside, Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s bowling too was massive for India in their series clinching eight-run win over the West Indies in the second T20I at Eden Gardens on Friday.
That penultimate over of the game Bhuvneshwar bowled, with the Windies needing 29 more for victory and having two set batsmen at crease in the form of Nicholas Pooran and Rovman Powell, was indeed one of the turning points of the game.
The third T20I is on Sunday.
Bhuvneshwar was spot-on in terms of slog-over bowling, focusing on the yorker length to give away only four off that 19th over along with dismissing Pooran.
No wonder that penultimate over tilted the game in India’s favour as 25 off the last six balls was a little too much for the Windies power-hitters.
“I was just believing in myself. Rohit (Sharma) told me that if I gave away just 9-10 runs, it would be difficult for them. So I just backed myself with the yorkers.
“There was a bit of dew, but I still backed myself and it came out well,” the 32-year-old pacer said after the game.
It was only in his previous over that Bhuvneshwar had shelled a sitter off his own bowling that let Powell off. But he remained mentally strong to ensure that the blunder didn’t affect his bowling.
What also took a little bit of pressure off Bhuvneshwar was Harshal Patel conceding just eight in the 18th over.
Even in the first T20I, Bhuvneshwar finished with decent figures (1/31).
“Bhuvi is an outstanding bowler with extraordinary skills and has got the experience too. So obviously, I am not surprised that he bowled so well yesterday (Friday), because he is capable of doing so.
“He is one of the most talented limited-overs bowler India has ever had,” former Team India bowling coach Bharat Arun told The Telegraph on Saturday.
Since mid-2018, when he missed the England Tests, injuries have been a constant hurdle for Bhuvneshwar. It surely would be a big boost for India if Bhuvneshwar is at his 100 per cent going into this year’s T20 World Cup .
“The (T20) World Cup is still a long way to go. But yes, he has got all the skills to do well for the team. It’s up to the selectors to decide though.
“But again, he displayed a lot of character and under pressure, came good yesterday (Friday), which is a very healthy sign,” Arun said.
- Match starts: 7pm, live on Star Sports Network