India vs New Zealand 2017, 3rd ODI: Jasprit Bumrah's exceptional death bowling is SK Turning Point of the match
Bhuvneshwar Kumar chips in with two solid overs to propel India to a thrilling win.
With the series boiling down to the decider, there was plenty on the line at the Green Park Stadium in Kanpur. While New Zealand were seeking their maiden ODI series victory on Indian soil, Virat Kohli's troops were intent on defending their country's proud home record. In a game when a combined tally of 668 runs was scored from the 100 overs, the home side's impeccable death bowling helped them clinch the thrilling encounter.
Jasprit Bumrah continued his rapid rise by putting forth a splendid performance in the end overs. He was ably assisted by his pace partner Bhuvneshwar Kumar who put behind a horror show in the preceding stages of the contest. Let us take a close look at how the last four overs of the clash turned the tide in India's favour and propelled them to a narrow 6-run victory which also led them to a memorable 2-1 series triumph.
Defiant New Zealand take the match to the wire
Riding on the back of centuries from Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, India powered to 337 for the loss of just six wickets. Chasing a humongous target, New Zealand made their intentions pretty clear right from the outset. Colin Munro came hard at India's new-ball bowlers by exploring different types of shots. Bumrah landed the early breakthrough when he accounted for the dangerous Guptill. The scalp also gave the 23-year-old his 50th ODI wicket.
However, Munro continued to torment the bowlers in the company of skipper Kane Williamson who battled valiantly to bounce back from his indifferent form. When it seemed like the duo were taking the spoils away from India's grasp, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal dismissed them in quick succession. The experienced Ross Taylor once again registered a sizeable partnership with Tom Latham to keep the Kiwis on track.
The run-out that turned the game in India's favour
Bumrah's deceptively designed slower delivery prised out the massive scalp of Taylor. However, Henry Nicholls batted fluently to keep the Indians at bay. While all this was happening at the other end, Latham stealthily got himself acquainted with the conditions on offer. The equation eventually boiled down to 35 runs off the last four bowlers.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who had conceded 77 runs from his first 8 overs, showed his class when it mattered. The vastly improved seamer not only castled Nicholls with a precise yorker but also parted with just 5 runs from his ninth over.
Bumrah exacerbated New Zealand's woes by sending down only five runs from the 48th over of the innings. More importantly, he played a key role in running out the well-set Latham. With Colin de Grandhomme digging out a perfectly aimed fuller delivery, the non-striker hared down the track to try and steal a single. But Dhoni calmly threw the ball to Bumrah who clattered the stumps with a vicious direct hit.
Bumrah delivers under pressure
As New Zealand required 25 runs off the last two overs, the momentum was firmly with the Indians. Latham's wicket had renewed their self-belief to a significant extent. Even though he conceded a six in the second delivery of the penultimate over, Bhuvneshwar once again stood up under a tense situation by giving away only four runs from the other five balls.
With as many as 15 runs available for him to defend, Bumrah closed out the game by delivering a remarkable final over. Targeting the block-hole on a relentless basis, the right-arm seamer even ensured that his low full-tosses were incredibly hard to score off. One such delivery sent Mitchell Santner packing.
The Blackcaps scored a boundary off the very last ball of the match. However, it was all too little too late as India had pulled off a euphoric win to pocket the series by a 2-1 margin. Were it not for the exploits of Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar in the death overs, the game could have ended in a different manner.