Bumrah rushes into the World Cup with 2 wickets on debut
SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP) — After tearing into his India teammates for two weeks to toughen them up for the World Cup, it was time for Jasprit Bumrah to be unleashed on the opposition batsmen.
The No. 1-ranked paceman in one-day international cricket beat Quinton de Kock's bat twice in his first over Wednesday before veering a ball so sharply off the seam that it almost seemed the South Africa opener had edged it, forcing a rare fumble from wicketkeeper MS Dhoni.
Bumrah's lively opening spell in the World Cup eventually netted two wickets for India, but more importantly it set a tone that helped result in a six-wicket win.
He had experienced opener Hashim Amla caught at second slip in his second over, and de Kock caught at third slip by India captain Virat Kohli in his third to have reeling at 24-2.
There were other hits and misses on debut at the quadrennial showpiece for the bowler with a unique bowling action that generates extra pace via hyper-extension of his right elbow. His first five-over spell returned 2-13, and in the end he finished with 2-35.
Kohli lavished his strike bowler with a tribute.
"The way he's bowling right now, it's so, so good to see because when you see batsmen literally clueless against him," Kohli said. "To be honest, I haven't seen Hashim get out like that in one-day cricket ... to get guys out like that, rushing them a bit, I think it's a great thing."
Since Bumrah made his ODI debut against Australia in 2016, no bowler has taken more wickets than him at the death — the very late overs when the batting team attacks.
He showed on Wednesday he's shortening up the batsmen in the opening overs, too.
The 25-year-old paceman now has 87 wickets in 50 ODIs, at an average of 22.
"There's no magic," Bumrah said of his rapid rise. "Always fitness, hard work. You train for situations like this.
"You want to start well in a big tournament like this. Once you start well, it's always a positive for the team You don't have to play catch up."
India was in front of the game from the start, reducing South Africa to 227-9 and then surpassing the target with 15 balls to spare and with Rohit Sharma unbeaten on 122.
Next up for India is a meeting with five-time and defending champion Australia at The Oval in London on the weekend.
Bumrah was instrumental in helping India to its first test series win on Australian soil in the last southern summer, so will be going in confident.
He "has the right attitude toward the game and he's going to be a massive factor for us here," Kohli said.
And Bumrah is there to help his teammates, too, with his attitude in the practice nets ensuring the batsmen are right atop their games.
"One thing you know with facing Jasprit is you have to play good cricketing shots ... because if you are hesitant a little bit, he senses that and he's all over you," Kohli said. "If he senses someone's not enjoying the short ball in the net, he will make sure that guy gets it in that session.
"So what you see him bowling in the match he bowls exactly like that to us in the nets. He doesn't care who is standing in front of him. He will bounce people, he will try to get people bowled, he will york people with the new ball.
"He's brilliant the way he's progressed, and hopefully he can keep going."