In Hot Seat, we present our writers with a tricky cricketing situation and ask them to captain their way out of it.
Scenario: Your side has gone to a Super Over against the Mumbai Indians and are batting first. Naturally, Jasprit Bumrah is the man to bowl it. Which two current batsmen from the same IPL side do you pick to face him?
Deivarayan Muthu: KL Rahul and Nicholas Pooran
On his day, Bumrah can nail six yorkers. But it's a difficult delivery to execute under pressure. You overpitch and it comes out as a full toss. You under-pitch, it's a half-volley. So, I would prefer a left-right batting combination that could brutally punish any such error in length or even mess with the length. KL Rahul and Nicholas Pooran of Kings XI Punjab have a variety of strokes in their repertoire and have established themselves as gun white-ball players under pressure. Rahul's head-to-head T20 record against Bumrah - 82 runs off 61 balls at a scoring rate of 8.06 while being dismissed just once - strengthens his case. Pooran has never faced Bumrah in T20 cricket, but I'd still back him to come good.
Karthik Krishnaswamy: Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell
Since the start of 2018, Karthik has faced 15 balls from Bumrah in T20 cricket and scored 33 off them, without being dismissed. His strike rate of 220.00 across these contests is the best of any batsman who has faced at least ten balls from Bumrah in this period. Bumrah has done pretty well against Andre Russell in this period - 12 balls, 14 runs, one wicket. But would you dare to not pick Russell for a Super Over against anyone?
Gaurav Sundararaman: KL Rahul and Nicholas Pooran
Rahul has a lot of experience facing Bumrah in the national team's nets and will have an idea of what Bumrah is likely to do in such a situation. He has a strong game on the off and on side and hence will be an ideal choice to take strike. As a left-hand batsman, Pooran will help in altering Bumrah's line. The other advantage is Pooran's exceptional power and timing. If he can pick the variations, he can surely hit a couple of boundaries.
Sreshth Shah: Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell
Rishabh Pant's strike rate of 257 against Bumrah between overs 16 and 20 almost made me select him, but having not found a good partner from his team, Delhi Capitals, I went with Karthik and Russell from the Kolkata Knight Riders, both ice-cool finishers with superb numbers against Bumrah at the death.
Karthik has scored the most runs off Bumrah at the death - 50 off 23 balls - of all batsmen. He has a boundary rate of 34.78% in the contest. His ability to move around the crease opens up scoops over fine leg and the area over extra cover if Bumrah attempts wide yorkers. Remember his last-ball six off Soumya Sarkar over extra cover in the Nidahas Trophy final?
Russell has 35 runs off 19 balls at the death against Bumrah and a 31.58% boundary rate. Bumrah has a five-inch spot to land that perfect yorker to strangle Russell. If he overpitches, even Russell's mistimed shots to low full tosses soar over the boundary. And if he under-pitches, it's right in Russell's slot.
Shashank Kishore: AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli
Bowling against two of the best batsmen in modern cricket is bound to get Bumrah thinking. Where de Villiers moves around in the crease, Kohli's destruction isn't based on premeditation. It's pure hand-eye coordination, strong wrists, and the steely belief that he can hit any ball in any direction playing orthodox shots. That's enough pressure for a bowler to contend with. Meanwhile, if you bowl full to de Villiers, he can back away and scythe you over cover. Bowl a yorker and he can squeeze it between point and short third. Bowl length into the body and he can walk across to sweep/paddle. So Bumrah will constantly be on his toes.