India captain Virat Kohli praised paceman Jasprit Bumrah for leading an impressive bowling unit in his team’s opening win in the World Cup against South Africa on Wednesday.
Bumrah, the world’s top-ranked one-day international bowler, struck early to remove the South African openers including Hashim Amla for six, in India’s six-wicket win in Southampton.
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was the pick of the Indian bowlers, with figures of 4-51 that came after Bumrah’s early assault on a cloudy morning.
Kohli said the 25-year-old Bumrah would be a “massive factor” for his team at the 50-over showpiece event.
“The way he’s bowling right now, it’s so good to see because you see batsmen literally clueless against him and he’s rushing people,” said Kohli of his pace ace.
“To be honest, I haven’t seen Hashim get out like that in one-day cricket… I think it’s a great thing and it’s a testimony to his hard work.
“He understands this is his time and he’s making the most of it so hats off, he’s brilliant. He’s going to be a massive factor for us here.”
Bumrah had the white ball darting around in Southampton as he got Amla to edge a rising delivery to Rohit Sharma at second slip.
Bumrah then struck again in his next over, with Quinton de Kock, who made 10, edging to Kohli at third slip, meaning South Africa were two down for 24.
“Well, one thing you know with facing Jasprit is you have to play good cricketing shots against him and you have to back your technique against him,” said Kohli.
“Because if you are hesitant a little bit, he senses that and he’s all over you.”
Chahal soon took over with his leg spin to strike twice in an over including the big wicket of South African captain Faf du Plessis for 38.
Chahal wrecked the South African middle order with good support from spin partner Kuldeep Yadav, who chipped in with 1-46.
“I think Kuldeep bowled really well, he controlled the game from one end and I think Chahal was outstanding,” said Kohli of the spin twins.
“Even with a little bit of turn and help from the pitch, what he was able to bring out of the wicket was truly brilliant to see. He has mental belief in his strength and full credit goes to him.”
India next play Australia at the Oval on Sunday.