New Delhi: Jasprit Bumrah's death-overs mastery in Sunday's Indian Premier League (IPL) final has convinced batting great Sachin Tendulkar that the 25-year-old with an unorthodox action is currently the best bowler in world cricket.
Mumbai Indians mentor Tendulkar watched contentedly from the sidelines as Bumrah stifled Chennai Super Kings with his final two overs to help set up his team's nail-biting one-run victory with remarkable figures of 4-0-14-2.
"Let me go on record and say he is the best bowler in the world at this stage and his best is yet to come hopefully," Tendulkar said of the bowler who will have to play a key role in England if India is to win a third 50-overs World Cup in July.
Lasith Malinga had bled 20 runs in the previous over when Bumrah returned for his final two overs after conceding just six in his first two overs which also produced the wicket of Ambati Rayudu.
Chennai needed 42 off 24 balls but the 17th over yielded only four as Bumrah straitjacketed Watson and Dwayne Bravo denying them any boundary.
Watson, who hit 80 in a losing cause, clobbered three successive sixes in the next over from spinner Krunal Pandya to leave Chennai needing 18 from the last two overs.
Bumrah returned to dismiss Bravo and gave away only five runs in his first five deliveries before stumper Quinton de Kock conceded four byes.
"I think his action is a bit awkward and it's tough to understand what pace is coming," his Mumbai team-mate Yuvraj Singh said.
"I think he's bowling the best I've seen in his career."
Equally impressive was how Bumrah dealt with heartbreaks in the nail-biting final.
The bowler with sling-arm action kept his cool even when Rahul Chahar dropped Watson and put his arm around de Kock's shoulders to comfort the dejected wicketkeeper who had conceded the late bye which could have cost them the trophy.
Asked about the secret of his consistency, Bumrah attributed it to a combination of simple approach and self-confidence.
"I don't think about all those things. I just think one day at a time, one ball at a time," said the top-ranked ODI bowler.
"If you don't think about all those extra pressure, you are much clearer, you don't feel the pressure. So I tried to focus on that, and I tried to back myself in any situation."