After a long wait, the Indian Premier League is scheduled to begin from September 19, 2020. The Board of Control for Cricket in India has shifted the tournament to the UAE amid rising coronavirus cases in India.
With the tracks in the Middle Eastern country slower, the franchises will need to adapt accordingly. The bowlers are expected to rule and dominate in the cash-rich league this year, and each side will be hoping that the match-winners can come to the fore.
The hardest task in the shortest format of the game is curbing the run flow in the death overs. With every batter looking to smash every delivery out of the park in the last four overs, the bowlers have to be at the top of their game to reduce the damage that is caused by the opponents.
Over the years, a number of fast bowlers have been able to impress with their tight bowling, especially in the death, and we look at a few pacers who could leave an impact this year.
Jasprit Bumrah (Mumbai Indians) –
India’s go-to bowler over the last few years, Jasprit Bumrah’s unorthodox action coupled with his pace makes him one of the hardest cricketers to face, especially in the last few overs of an innings. His precision and pin-point yorkers makes him hard to navigate and his economy rate is one of the best in the league.
The lethal fast bowler has been an integral member of the Mumbai Indians franchise since 2016 – picking up 71 wickets in 60 games. He has conceded runs at less than 7.5 runs per over in this interim, and his consistent performances have made him a modern-day legend.
With Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga at the other end, Bumrah has been able to curtail batters, which has been one of the major reasons for his side’s success.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Sunrisers Hyderabad) –
Fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been woefully out of form the last few years in the IPL and has been hampered by injuries as well, but undoubtedly, he is one of the best talents when it comes to bowling in the death overs. With the ability to swing the ball, Kumar’s sharp cricketing brain and his experience makes him a vital cog in the bowling department of his team.
The 30-year old has played 117 IPL games, and has managed 133 wickets at a strike rate of an impressive 19.63. After undergoing a sports hernia surgery, Bhuvi will be looking to make a successful return to competitive cricket, and will be David Warner’s go-to man in the crucial overs at the fag end of an innings.
Deepak Chahar (Chennai Super Kings)
Deepak Chahar was with the Rising Pune Supergiant franchise for a couple of years, following which he was bought by MS Dhoni’s team Chennai Super Kings in 2018. Since he moved to the highly successful side, Chahar has taken rapid strides, and has become one of the most feared bowlers.
In the first season with CSK, Chahar returned with 10 wickets. He improved his performance in IPL 2019, ending as the highest Indian wicket-taker with 22 wickets. It also helped him earn a national call-up.
Chahar was in full flow against Bangladesh last year, picking up a hattrick en route bowling figures of 6 for 7 – the best by any male cricketer in a T20I game. From a youngster to a reliable bowler, Chahar’s rise has been inspiring and he will play an important role this year.
Kagiso Rabada (Delhi Capitals) –
The pacer was unlikely to turn out for Delhi Capitals if the IPL 2020 had gone on as per schedule in March due to a groin injury. However, with the postponement of the tournament, Rabada would have got adequate rehab time, and he will be itching to make a memorable comeback.
The South African had a memorable season in 2019 as he ended with 25 wickets from 12 games at an economy rate of just 7.82. Cricket fanatics will keenly remember Rabada’s perfectly placed yorker that dismissed all-rounder Andre Russell in the Super Over last year against Kolkata Knight Riders. D
efending 10 in the Super Over, Rabada had got the dangerous West Indian with a delivery to remember, which should give evidence of his skills under pressure.
Equipped with the ability to generate pace and swing the ball, the young tear away is expected to lead the charge for the Capitals this season as well as they eye their maiden crown.