Deadly and unique - the Bumrah impact

Another KL Rahul fifty fires India to victory (1:00)

KL Rahul's 11th T20I half-century helps India to a 2-0 series lead. Watch New Zealand vs. India on ESPN+. (1:00)

Eight overs, two fours, one six, 52 runs. Man-of-the-Match awards won't tell you the real story: the difference between the two teams has been Jasprit Bumrah.

Against any other team, any other bowling attack, on both nights New Zealand were doing just enough to post par totals. Look at these scenarios. In the first match, on a flat pitch, they enter the last three overs just north of 10 an over. With wickets in hand, you expect sides batting first to get upwards of 40, especially on a small ground, and that would have taken New Zealand to a par score. Bumrah bowled the 18th and 20th overs without a boundary, conceding just 16, that too thanks to three overthrows.

Two days later, struggling on a slow surface, New Zealand somehow had themselves needing 10 an over in the last four overs to reach 150, which would have tested India. Except that they had two Bumrah overs to contend with, which brought only 12 runs.

This match must have felt extra sweet to India because it is their batsmen who have famously been at the receiving end of such an innings. In the final of the World T20 in 2014, it was their batsmen who were stifled by Bumrah's mentor at Mumbai Indians, Lasith Malinga, and his friends. The last three balls ruined it - a wicket fell and a six was hit - otherwise India looked well on their way to consigning New Zealand to the second-lowest T20I score for just four wickets down. Ross Taylor, who played the kind of hand Yuvraj Singh did in Dhaka for a 24-ball 18, fell to the fourth ball of the last over.

New Zealand opener Martin Guptill was asked if New Zealand had been too conservative, knowing that they hadn't lost the wickets and yet failed to score at a high enough rate. An exasperated response followed: "The guys were trying. There was a lot of swinging and missing, and that can happen. Obviously, you're playing against one of the best death bowlers in the world. He's got a great slower ball, hits the hole pretty well and he's got a great bouncer. So it's pretty hard to get Bumrah away at the end, and hopefully he can have three off nights for us, coming up."

Guptill should know. He and Colin Munro faced Bumrah at the top of the innings, and managed to get just five runs in the third over. It was part of the reason why Shardul Thakur got his wicket: Guptill was forced to take too many risks against other bowlers.

Bumrah is the most complete white-ball bowler going around in the world today. Had he been slightly less perfect, he would have got many more wickets. As of now, batsmen know they have no chance against him so they defer the risk-taking to when they are facing the other bowlers. You can't write this sort of impact into any other advanced algorithm also.

Bumrah knows this. He calls it "money in the bank". He will encash it some day. He knows his worth. His team knows his worth. His opponents know his terror. So deceptive do his hyperextension and his accuracy make him that you have to set up to play one of the two deliveries: slower one or the regulation pace. You have to live with the fact that the best you will get is a single off the other set.

A crude way of putting it is this: you are going to be able to set up for only half of his deliveries. Off the other half, you will be lucky to get singles off half of them. So on most nights, one Bumrah over is a write-off on an average. India are playing T20, other teams N19. That is the Bumrah impact, and all you can do is hope and pray he has off nights.