Umesh Yadav, death overs bowling and Vizag. It is a horror story that is the stuff of nightmares. The first Twenty20 International between India and Australia saw fortunes swaying constantly. KL Rahul hit a fifty but India managed just 126/7. Australia were boosted by Glenn Maxwell’s brilliant 56 but once he fell, India found the opening and Jasprit Bumrah bowled a sensational 19th over where he conceded just two runs and took two wickets. Australia required 14 off the last over which was to be bowled by Umesh Yadav. The advantage was with India and in the first ball, Pat Cummins mistimed a slog to long on and Australia needed 13 off five balls. Then it went horribly wrong.
Jhye Richardson moved to the off side and Umesh bowled a short delivery outside off which the batsman thumped to deep midwicket for a boundary. Nine runs needed off four balls. A brilliant yorker was bowled but Richardson dug it out superbly and ran two runs. A low full toss was hit down the ground for a single and six runs were needed off two balls. Umesh bowled a low full toss and wide outside off stump, Pat Cummins latched on to it and creamed the drive to the deep extra cover fence.
Before the final ball was bowled, former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar pointed out that long on was a bit too deep and the fielder should move in. Umesh bowled a full ball on middle stump and Cummins mistimed the drive past the bowler. However, since there was no timing, the ball did not go quickly to the fielder who ran in and flung the ball at Dhoni’s end. This was enough for Australia to steal the game and win by three wickets off the final ball. Umesh could not defend 14 runs in the final over.
It was deja-vu for Umesh. At this same venue, four months ago during the ODI clash against West Indies, the Vidarbha right-hander was once again found wanting in the death overs. Virat Kohli became the fastest to 10,000 runs in ODIs and his 157, combined with Ambati Rayudu’s 73 helped India reach 321/7. In response, Shimron Hetmyer blasted 94 and was well supported by Shai Hope as West Indies seemed on course for a win. A flurry of late wickets resulted in the Windies needing 14 runs off the final over bowled by Umesh.
A first ball yorker was dug out by Hope for a single but on the second ball, a reverse-swinging delivery hit the back leg of Ashley Nurse and went past MS Dhoni for four leg byes. The third ball was slogged to deep midwicket for a couple by Nurse and West Indies needed seven off three balls. However, Nurse played the scoop shot and holed out to third man and Hope managed to squeeze a yorker to deep midwicket for two runs. Windies needed five runs off the last ball but Umesh bowled a full ball slightly wide of off stump and Hope carved the square drive to the deep backward point fence for a boundary to tie the game. Umesh ended up as the most expensive Indian bowler in that match, conceding 78 runs for one wicket.
Vizag is a venue where MS Dhoni made a mark on the world stage with a brilliant 148 against Pakistan in 2005. It was the venue that saw Kohli script an epic to upstage Sachin Tendulkar. But for Umesh, Vizag is the venue of horror for his death bowling.