Yorker King in IPL
Every batsman’s nightmare, the yorker is not every bowler’s cup of tea and requires a lot of practice. If gone wrong, the delivery can turn into a full-toss and the bowler will likely be hit for a boundary. Although difficult to execute perfectly, we have seen several yorkers bowled in the Indian Premier League over the last 13 years, bamboozling the best of batsmen and adding a lot of excitement to the game. While mystery spinners with their knuckle balls are still very dangerous, fast bowlers with lethal bowling skills such as a yorker are a different kind. But who is known as the yorker king in IPL?
The original yorker king in IPL is Lasith Malinga. He was the one who introduced the slow ball yorker to the cricket world. In recent times, Jasprit Bumrah, the Indian team spearhead, is known as the yorker king.
In no particular order, let us look at the top five yorker kings of the IPL since its inception in 2008.
Please note – all the stats below are updated till phase 1 of IPL 2021
The Original Yorker King Lasith Malinga – Mumbai Indians
One of the best exponents of the yorker ball, Malinga bowled a record 83 yorkers from 17 games in IPL 2013 for Mumbai Indians. The Sri Lankan also picked up 20 wickets that season at an economy of 7.16, which was instrumental in Mumbai winning the trophy after defeating Chennai Super Kings in the final.
Lasith Malinga’s IPL numbers are second to none. He played for Mumbai from 2008 to 2019, during which he picked up 170 wickets, making him the highest wicket-taker in the tournament’s history. He pulled out of IPL 2020 due to personal reasons before announcing retirement from franchise cricket in 2021 and he will be sorely missed.
The Sri Lankan legend with his slinging action was at the core of the five-time champions for 12 long years. Be it his 5-13 in 2011 against Delhi Capitals, or the 4-31 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2019, Malinga won Mumbai Indians several games in a format dominated by the batsmen.
The death bowling specialist was also the hero of the final over of the 2019 final. To win the trophy, CSK needed nine runs in the final over, which was bowled by Malinga, but they could manage only seven as Mumbai claimed their fourth title.
Jasprit Bumrah – Mumbai Indians
Like teacher like student. Jasprit Bumrah, who has been mentored by Malinga in the IPL, is another bowler with a toe-crushing yorker. Bumrah’s unique bowling action and his medium pace bowling have helped him bowl quite a few unplayable yorkers in IPL and international cricket.
One cannot forget the yorker Bumrah bowled to Shikhar Dhawan in Qualifier 1 of the IPL 2020. In the second ball of his first over, Bumrah bowled a screaming yorker that hit the off-stump accurately. The yorker was so unreal, that the batsman was seen in complete shock. With Dhawan’s wicket, Delhi were reduced to 0-3 and went on to lose the match. Bumrah ended with 4-1-14-4 – his personal best figures in the tournament – and was named the Player of the Match.
Since being a part of the Mumbai franchise since 2013, Bumrah has played 99 matches, picking 115 wickets at an economy rate of 7.43. Apart from the aforementioned 4-14 against Delhi in 2020, some of the other astounding figures registered by Bumrah in the last 8 seasons are 3-7 against Kolkata Knight Riders in 2017, 3-15 against Punjab Kings in 2018 and 3-14 against RCB last year.
Kagiso Rabada – Delhi Capitals
Winner of the purple cap in IPL 2020, the right arm quick from South Africa has bowled a few jaw dropping yorkers in the IPL, making full use of his pace. His yorker to Andre Russell in the 2019 edition was termed as the ball of the tournament by Sourav Ganguly. KKR needed 11 in the Super Over to win, and they sent their best man Andre Russell to get the job done. In the third ball, Rabada, running at 147kmph, bowled an accurate yorker which uprooted the middle-stump and sent Russell back to the dugout. The 26-year-old conceded just seven runs in the over and took Delhi over the line.
Since making his IPL debut in 2017, Rabada has played 42 matches for Delhi, picking up 69 wickets at an economy of 8.32, which includes 4 four-wicket hauls. Although he picked up only six wickets in his debut season, Rabada picked up the ace and grabbed 12 and 17 wickets, respectively in 2019 and 2020. His best figures of 4-21 came against KKR in 2019, for which he was named Player of the Match.
T Natarajan – Punjab Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad
The left-arm medium-pacer from Tamil Nadu, Natarajan was bought by Punjab Kings in 2017 at Rs. 3 crore, and thus became the highest-paid uncapped Indian player in that auction. However, an injury cut short his season, and he could play only six matches from which he picked just two wickets. Natarajan was subsequently released by the franchise and bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad ahead of 2018, but played his first season in 2020, picking 16 wickets.
In the 14th over of the match against Delhi in IPL 2020, Natarajan bowled five yorkers, most of which were faced by hard-hitting Marcus Stoinis. So impressive were his performances in IPL 2020 that he earned his India call-up later that year for T20Is against Australia. So far, Natarajan has played 22 IPL matches, picking 18 wickets.
Anrich Nortje – Delhi Capitals
In the 42nd match of IPL 2020 played in the UAE, Nortje, at 148kph, bowled an unplayable yorker to KKR’s Rahul Tripathi, targeting the middle stumps. A bamboozled Tripathi got an outside edge and his stumps were rattled. Nortje bowled a similar delivery to Manish Pandey in another game, but the batsman saved his wicket by leaving the ball.
Delhi Capitals bought Nortje as a replacement for Chris Woakes ahead of IPL 2020 and in his maiden IPL season, the South African quick picked up as many as 22 wickets, playing a perfect second fiddle to Rabada.
The other yorker king in IPL worth mentioning is Trent Boult.
Also read: What is Right to Match in IPL?