It goes without saying that the Indian T20 League has played a humongous role in the evolution of T20 cricket. While it is popular for being a format dominated by batsmen, we tend to forget the tactical side of it. Most of the times, it is brought on the front while defending a middling total; like it was on display in Mumbai’s 13-run win over Hyderabad on April 17.

With 12 runs needed off the final two overs, Rohit Sharma brought on his usual man, Jasprit Bumrah for the 19th over. The result was evident. The Mumbai pacer went on to concede just five runs while removing Vijay Shankar from the crease. Similarly, Mohammed Siraj bowled an incredible 19th over to Kolkata's swashbuckling batsman Andre Russell as he gave away just a single run on April 18. 

A 19th over in T20 format, especially while defending a low total, is arguably the make or break over in the innings. And only a select few bowlers have had the luxury of shouldering the opportunity in the Indian T20 League. And the leader of the pack is none other than Jasprit Bumrah.

Bumrah: The game-changer

Bumrah’s domination in the penultimate (19th) over was on show against Hyderabad and the same was the case against Kolkata in their second match of the tournament. By the end of the 18th over, Kolkata needed 19 runs from two overs with both Andre Russell and Dinesh Karthik present at the crease. Bumrah conceded singles in each of his first four balls before bowling successive dots. With the asking run-rate increasing to 15, Mumbai won the game by 10 runs.

During the first three years of the Indian T20 League, a lack of strategy was evident given that a total of 52 penultimate overs were bowled by 43 bowlers during a chase. A mere seven bowlers bowled the 19th over more than once.

Between 2017-2020, specialists like Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar emerged. During this time, only 30 bowlers bowled the 19th over during a chase.

Most wickets in 19th over of 2nd innings in Indian T20 League since 2013
Bowler Overs Runs Wickets Economy Average Strike Rate
Jasprit Bumrah 21.4 184 11 8.49 16.73 11.82
Bhuvneshwar Kumar 19.5 169 9 8.52 18.78 13.22
Lasith Malinga 14.0 97 10 6.93 9.70 8.40
Mohit Sharma 13.3 98 9 7.33 11.00 9.00
Dale Steyn 8.5 81 6 9.17 13.50 8.83

Since making his debut in 2013, the pacer has bowled 21.4 penultimate overs while defending a total, which is the most by any other bowler in the league. During the tenure, he has picked 11 wickets, which is also the most by any other bowler.

Amongst his favourite Indian T20 League preys are Team Hyderbad against whom he has taken three wickets in the 19th overs. There are only three teams who have hit him for more than nine runs per over. What makes Bumrah special during the death overs is his accurate line. He knows exactly what line and length will work against a particular batsman. Several players have attempted to play him late, but his scorching pace and bullet yorkers have more often than not bamboozled the batsmen, restricting their hitting abilities.

Jasprit Bumrah vs Indian T20 League teams in 19th over
Opponent Overs Runs Wickets Economy Average
Hyderabad 3.2 28 3 8.4 9.3
Chennai 4.4 49 3 10.5 16.3
Rajasthan 3 30 2 10 15
Bangalore 2 16 1 8 16
Punjab 1.4 12 1 7.2 12
Delhi 3 13 1 4.33 13
Kolkata 2 18 0 9 -

"It's great to see a guy like that operate," Trent Boult had said about Bumrah after Mumbai’s win over Hyderabad. 

“How clear he is with what he is doing with the ball throughout the whole spell. But at the death, I personally believe he is one of the best bowlers in the death overs. He makes my job a lot easier but it's nice to be on the right side of those situations.”

Bumrah’s ability to adapt and grasp the condition of the wicket needs special mention, and this is one of the reasons why he has climbed up the ladder this quick. Between the bowlers who have bowled a minimum of six 19th over of the second innings in the league, Bumrah’s economy is on the higher side (8.49), but the fact remains that he has bowled most overs and has picked most wickets. 

Bowlers with best economy in 19th over of second innings in Indian T20 League (min. six overs)
Bowler Overs Runs Wickets Economy
Sunil Narine 6.5 41 3 6.83
Lasith Malinga 16.1 97 10 6.93
Mohit Sharma 16.3 99 9 7.33
Mustafizur Rahman 10.4 64 3 8.35
Jaspreet Bumrah 21.4 184 11 8.49

The use of Jasprit Bumrah in the 19th over is a testament to the increase in the tactical side of the T20 format. Even the low totals are defendable, to say the least, and for a spectator, bowling is becoming more interesting.

Featured photo: Twitter / IPL