Jasprit Bumrah match-ready, likely to play 2nd T20I vs Australia in Nagpur

Bhuvneshwar Kumar faltered in the 19th over while defending a big total thrice in as many games against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia. Harshal Patel, who returned to the side after an injury break, conceded 22 runs in the 18th over on Tuesday against Australia in Mohali. Before his injury, he had leaked the same number of runs in the 17th over against South Africa in New Delhi in June. On all those occasions, India failed to defend big totals and the turning point came between the 17-19th over. Less than a month to go for T20 World Cup in Australia, India’s death-bowling continues to be one of the biggest headaches for captain Rohit Sharma.

Rohit and India, however, are set to receive a big boost in the form of Jasprit Bumrah – he didn’t feature in any of those above-mentioned debacles at the death – in the 2nd T20I against Australia on Friday in Nagpur that is likely to solve a major part of their death-overs worries. Bumrah didn’t play in the series opener against Australia as the Indian think-tank decided to go easy on the pace spearhead, especially considering the fact that he was returning after a break.

The way Bumrah bowled in the nets on the eve of the Mohali T20I, was a sure-shot indication that the right-arm seamer had no injury concerns. The decision to leave him out and play Umesh Yadav was purely to give Bumrah more time to regain match fitness.

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“We all know exactly what Jasprit Bumrah brings to the side and how important he is for us. Obviously, there will be concerns here and there and it’s fine. We got to trust our boys, whoever gets the opportunity. These are the best 15 people in the country, that’s why they are here. Jasprit being there makes a big difference but if he’s not there. He’s coming back from an injury, so he needs to get enough time, maybe not put a lot of pressure on his body. He will come back and play,” said India all-rounder Hardik Pandya when asked about Bumrah’s absence.

Despite Harshal and Bhuvneshwar’s Kumar’s below-par show – they conceded 101 runs in their 8 overs – Bumrah is set to replace Umesh Yadav in the second match in Nagpur. Umesh brought India back in the game with a double-wicket over but he is not in India’s World Cup squad and was also selected for these three matches as Mohammed Shami’s back-up.