‘Enough’ runs from Virat Kohli for India, Jasprit Bumrah the ventriloquist, South Africa’s theoretical snowball + more from the T20 World Cup final

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Don’t know if you saw, but India beat South African in the T20 World Cup final at the weekend.

Numb Virat Kohli makes ‘enough’ runs

T20 strategy is shaped by statistics, but if there’s one thing they don’t measure too well, it’s the likelihood a player’s entire muscle memory will be momentarily wiped when a truly big game is in the balance.

Hardik Pandya could afford to concede two fours off his last two balls and India would have still won the T20 World Cup final. Hardik told himself to keep it outside off stump and duly boomed a wide.

Playing World Cup finals is hard.

Writing after the semi-finals, we suggested that Virat Kohli was ‘due’. We didn’t really mean that because we don’t believe in ‘dueness’ but we also weren’t at all surprised that he was able to cobble together a score in a big game.

Kohli has played a lot of big games. At a certain point his status became such that pretty much every game became big. Maybe not World Cup final big, but big enough that he has developed a very high base tolerance for both external and internal expectations.

What this means is that when the score reads 34-3 in a World Cup final, he doesn’t suffer any of that low grade paralysis that so often afflicts players in these matches. He just plays normally and when other people are feeling the heat, playing normally can be pretty handy.

Kohli made 76 off 59 balls, which was really a no-more-than-adequate contribution on that pitch. For quite a lot of his innings, he didn’t even try to hit boundaries.

The thing is, if your bowling attack is better than average, an average sort of score will prove sufficient more often than not.

Jasprit Bumrah, ventriloquist

We know no-one puts much store in Player of the Match awards, but can we please just highlight the extraordinary nonsense of this one (Kohli).

Jasprit Bumrah took 2-18 off four overs in a match in which both teams made scores of around 170. He bowled those overs when it mattered the most and hauled the game from Mariana Trench depths late on.

South Africa had scored 48 runs in the five overs before Bumrah came back for his third over. The previous one alone had gone for 24. Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller – two of the surest hitters in world cricket – were at the crease. Klaasen was on 49 off 22 balls. Miller was on 14 off 7 balls.

Bumrah conceded four runs and honestly just scared them throughout. According to Ravi Shastri, he was, “literally making the ball talk”.

If we’d been one of the two batters, we’d have struggled to avoid ruminating on that over for the entire time Rishabh Pant was getting treatment immediately afterwards. There’s every chance our heart-rate would have risen with every additional second of inactivity. A wicket next ball didn’t feel too big a surprise.

Bumrah’s next over – one wicket, two runs – was on paper better still. But it was the first one that made the difference. It was the kind of contribution you can only make having already built a reputation over the preceding weeks and years.

Plenty of players can bowl a great over. Not everyone can convince you they’re absolutely 100% guaranteed to do so.

It is hard to imagine how Jasprit Bumrah could have improved on that bowling performance.

He was not Player of the Match.

> Was Jasprit Bumrah’s yorker to Ollie Pope the best since Waqar Younis?

South Africa’s theoretical snowball

This was South Africa’s first men’s World Cup final in either white-ball format. Given that they’ve always been a good side and hardly anyone actually plays cricket, that’s a staggering statistic – particularly given the sport holds a World Cup basically annually these days.

Being in a final is therefore progress. A few South Africa players will no doubt retire, but others will have gained just a little of Virat Kohli’s big game numbness. Maybe this will stand them in good stead.

Aiden Markram is in a position to feel that. He reckons that if South Africa finally win a World Cup, there’ll be “a snowball effect of quite a few to come.”

Sneaky old South Africa, stockpiling World Cup wins all these years. Watch out, everyone! They’re due!

What’s next?

Test cricket.

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13 comments

  1. Let’s hope whoever has control on the broadcast of the upcoming test series doesn’t continue the fad, established in the T20 WC, of placing slo-mo, pretentious, sloblocks between balls, let alone overs. That, and the incessant replays, to the point where it overlaid the actual cricket being played on occasion, got very old very quickly.

    It did not help with the continuity of the cricket viewing.

    As for the dj’s…

    Whinge over, unless the above appear during a test match.

    1. I also didn’t like the endless the reaction shots. I wasn’t sure if this was just how cricket is filmed these days. You’re right about the continuity suffering.

      I remember the DJs in CPL ~’19 keeping it local, which is better than what one gets elsewhere. I could really do without hearing songs with the numbers two or seven in their titles ever again, for a start.

      1. Oh good grief! The reaction shots! Yes! Like other disturbing events during the competition, I had erased that from the memory. There seemed to be more emphasis placed on looking at the crowd than the cricket at times.

        Talking of erased memory, and slightly off tack, I have a feeling there was some awful Aussie commentary. It’s a bit vague, but it triggers a little fear and depression.

    1. Between Jimmy Anderson and Mark Cavendish, it’s been a big few days for ageing sportspeople that this site has a bit of a soft spot for…

  2. Gloucestershire v Glamorgan. 593 to win in the fourth innings. Would have been a world record. Final ball of the match. 592-9. All four results possible. Edged behind. James Bracey takes a spectacular flying catch. Match tied.

    Cricket.

    1. This is the first year for eons in which the tie is worth no more points than the draw for either or both teams in the CC. . Naturally, the first tie in the CC for eons had to occur.

      Surely still a record – the highest second innings score in all first class cricket to result in a tie.

  3. In general I am not a fan of “best of XIs”

    But I realized you could take the winning Indian team, make a few replacements & get an ideal XI for all conditions !!

    Rohit
    Buttler/QdK/Afghan opener (Kohli)
    Pooran (Pant)
    SKY
    Klaasen (Dube)
    Maxwell/Nabi (Jadeja)
    Stoinis (Hardik Pandya)
    Axar
    Rashid Khan (Kuldeep)
    Hazelwood (Arshdeep)
    Bumrah

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