There was one moment in the India versus South Africa match at Southampton that perfectly encapsulated the fast-bowling fire-breathing dragon that Jasprit Bumrah has become.
The last ball of the second over from Bumrah pitched outside the leg stump and zipped away to beat Quinton de Kock's outside edge. Most world class batsmen would have been beaten by that ball. Even as de Kock tried to decipher what had happened, bewildered, he responded with a smile of appreciation. As if he was in awe.
It was the second ball in a row he was beaten by a similar delivery and third time in the over.
That over had set the tone, for India and for Bumrah. It was his World Cup debut. It was his first over of the World Cup and he had bowled a ripper.
He would go on to bowl a spell to remember.
Edges fly, edges are beaten, slip cordon is packed, plays and misses, plays and misses. Welcome to England. No, it's not a Test match, we are talking about one-day international.
It is a nice little battle starting to unfold, albeit a lop-sided one.
Earlier, it was just his deceptive action that set Bumrah apart. But over the years, he's added guile to pace which underpins his rapid rise in the cricketing arena. Fast bowlers use aggression as their most lethal weapon but when you add intelligence to that aggression, it becomes a deadly combo. Bumrah has become that all-around bowler.
At The Rose Bowl, the pitch assisted seam and extra bounce in overcast conditions. Bumrah absorbed it early and hit hard lengths. Not too short as well. He hit short of good lengths and zipped them through. They swung as well, some times after passing the batsman.
His next ball to de Kock is back of a length delivery, angled across. It seams away and beats the outside edge as he looks to cut. It swings away further after passing the batsman and makes Dhoni fumble. They run a bye.
All this while Bumrah has been angling the ball away from de Kock. His natural action angles the ball into right-handers and takes it away from the left. Amla, facing his first ball from Bumrah, would be expecting an in-dipper. But Bumrah pitches it on good length in the corridor of uncertainty and gets it to straighten, Amla isn't ready for it. He feels for it and edges it to Rohit at second slip. Bumrah has his maiden World Cup wicket.
Faf du Plessis strides out, probably confused about to what to expect. The delivery to Amla straightened. Will this one be an outswinger? or an inswinger? Because with Bumrah, you never know. Kohli places a third slip. Bumrah pitches it full for the first time, outside off, du Plessis goes for a drive but it's an inswinger. And the inside edge whizzes inches wide of the leg stump to the fine leg fence.
Bumrah is in the zone. Bumrah is ramping it up. Bumrah is breathing excitement. Bumrah is smiling.
All this while Bumrah has been cramping de Kock of room. Bowling short of good length. Off the penultimate ball of the sixth over, Bumrah pitches it on a length, a touch wide and angles it away. De Kock, who's been choked for runs, looks for a release and goes for an expansive drive but gets an outside edge to Kohli at third slip. The carrot is dangled and has trapped de Kock.
De Kock must have played plenty of Bumrah balls in the Mumbai Indians nets but at The Rose Bowl, he was comprehensively outfoxed.
Van der Dussen and Faf du Plessis go into an ultra-cautious mode. Bumrah's first spell reads 5-0-13-2. With just one four conceded, that too off that Du Plessis inside edge. It is like facing the first hour of a Test match, Du Plessis told Chris Morris.
That spell has laid the platform. The spell has elicited purrs. The spell is right there up along with the very best. South Africa are 34/2 from 10 overs, the lowest Powerplay score of the World Cup so far. Sachin Tendulkar who had gone on the record to say that Bumrah is the best bowler in the world at this stage was mightily impressed by the spell.
"His (Bumrah's) start was incredible. The bounce that he got off the pitch was something special," Sachin Tendulkar told Star Sports in innings break. "He created that pressure on the batters who were not able to rotate the strike and also not to forget the field placement where it was proactive captaincy not reactive."
Kohli makes a double bowling change now, Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav bowl in tandem but the next seven overs release a bit of pressure on South Africa as Dussen and Du Plessis garner 37 runs from seven overs.
Enter Yuzvendra Chahal. Another player making his World Cup debut.
He beats Dussen's outside edge off just the second ball that grips and turns. Five balls later, he has his man, cleaned up. It's the drift that does the magic. For some unfathomable reasons, Dussen gets into position early for a reverse sweep but Chahal tosses it up and the drift takes it further down the leg stump. Dussen is done in by the drift and it is out of his reach now, he misses, the ball spins back and shatters the timber.
Another five balls later Chahal delivers a slightly quicker one, Du Plessis is probably expecting a flighted leg spinner, because the previous one is quicker, but this one skids straight on to breach his defence and disturb the woodwork again.
Chahal's first spell reads - 5-0-20-2 with just one four conceded. He's carried forward the momentum from Bumrah.
Andile Phehlukwayo and David Miller rebuild but just as a partnership starts to develop, Kohli calls up Chahal for his second spell and he obliges the skipper with the wicket of Miller. It's that flight and drift that has Miller early into the shot leading into caught and bowled. Three overs later, Phehlukwayo charges down the track and continues straight to the dressing room as he misses a loopy leg spinner that follows him, dips, turns and gets him stumped.
So far, the spinners haven't had a significant impact in England but Chahal has made it happen. The conditions in England assist drift but it requires skills to generate that drift in the first place. Former India spinner Anil Kumble, in the mid-innings break, analysed on News 18 that Chahal imparted those extra revolutions on the ball to get that drift and hit the right lengths, especially fuller ones which gave the batsmen very less to adjust.
Chahal mixed his pace well and confused the batsmen.
The Haryana leg spinner was one of the stand-out performers in Royal Challengers Bangalore's (RCB) dismal campaign in the IPL. In the last two years, he's been the third highest wicket-taker in the world which is a testament to his fearlessness. With all the talks around flat tracks, small grounds, 300 runs being a norm and possibility of even a 500-run total being posted, Chahal was unperturbed.
"Personally, I don't like rank turners. I love bowling on flat wickets with a bit of bounce. That personally suits my game. Also, as a wrist spinner, you do induce turn irrespective of how the wicket is and I have never believed in looking at tracks for assistance," Chahal told IANS before leaving for the UK.
"Bowling on rank turners is also an art, but if you ask me, I would love flat wickets with a bit of bounce and that gets me going. You can't bowl fast on flat wickets and you need to give it loop so that the ball takes turn. On turning wickets, the pace has to be increased since you already are getting turn," he added.
So here he was, bowling on a non-turner and still making it happen.
Both Bumrah and Chahal adapted to the conditions and executed the skills to perfection. Bumrah executed early hammer blows. Chahal paralysed the Proteas. And then Rohit hit the knockout punch.
Chahal finished with the best figures in this World Cup so far and second-best overall by an Indian on World Cup debut - 10-0-51-4. And Bumrah returned with figures of 10-1-35-2. It was vital in helping India restrict South Africa to a below-par 227.
Going into the main draw, there was strong competition for first-choice spinner's spot, with Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, and Chahal all doing well in the warm-ups. However, Chahal might have put that conundrum to rest in Southampton.
While Bumrah once again proved his class and laid a marker of what is to come further in the tournament.
"You know it's one thing to see a bowler bowl, and then when you catch the ball, you understand the heaviness of the ball and the pace," Kohli said in the presentation ceremony. "And I caught that ball, I promise you, for the next 15 minutes, my hands were buzzing. And I told him (Bumrah), you know, that I can feel the pain in my hands. That's how quickly he's bowling. The batsmen literally have no time on the ball. With the new ball, he was absolutely outstanding. Haven't seen Amla get out like that in one-day cricket. Even Quinny, he rushed him for pace."
"He is very disciplined. He is working really hard at practice, in the gym, with his diet, with his rest. He understands this is his time and he's making the most of it so hats off, he's brilliant," the Indian captain added in the post-match press conference.
Seasoned campaigner Rohit Sharma's mature and tenacious century guided India home but it was the two World Cup debutants who had sown the seeds of success.