T20 cricket is always an uphill challenge for the bowlers with the batsmen expected to get under the skin from the word go. However, with time the bowlers have successfully evolved. While bowling at any stage of the game is a difficult task in T20 cricket, bowling at the death is an art that not many have been able to master.
The batsmen throw their bats at everything in the death overs in a bid to score quick runs. And thus it becomes difficult for the bowlers to contain the batsmen at this stage of the game. This has made teams focus on this particular area and get in specialist ‘death bowlers’ to do the job. These bowlers have been able to add more variations like knuckle ball and wide yorkers to their repertoire which has made the contest between the bowler and batsman more even.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 death bowlers currently plying their trade in the IPL 2020.
Jofra Archer has been the strike bowler for Rajasthan Royals for a couple of years now. He has picked up a total of 26 wickets from 21 IPL matches at an average of 23.69 and an economy of 7.52. In 2019, he conceded runs at just 6.76 RPO while taking 11 wickets from as many matches.
Archer has all the variety that one can think of, but his pace and the meanest of bouncers are his primary weapons, which will keep the batsmen honest at the death
Pat Cummins made headlines by becoming the most expensive player at the IPL auctions. The Australian speedster has been in good form in all forms of cricket off late and will be hoping to carry on that form in the IPL too. Kolkata Knight Riders will be hoping the same as their bowling looked completely out of sorts last season. KKR does not have too many options for bowling at the death and thus in all likelihood, Cummins will be given this responsibility.
Most would not take exception to the argument that Kagiso Rabada is the best overseas bowler featuring in this edition of the Indian Premier League. Rabada was an out and out success for Delhi Capitals last year and his effectiveness was highlighted even more when the team struggled in his absence.
Rabada picked up 25 wickets from 12 matches in IPL 2019 and bowled at an economy of 7.82. This is when he bowled all the tough overs. If there was one bowler who knew how to stop Andre Russell last year, it was Rabada and he will be a tough bowler to get away this year as well, with his quick short of length deliveries and on-point yorkers
There is nothing much that needs to be said about an Indian bowler who is at the peak of his powers. Death bowling is Bumrah’s zone and he knows it better than most others on the planet.
Bumrah picked up 19 wickets for Mumbai Indians last year from 16 games and bowled at an economy of 6.63, which is as good as it gets in this format of the game. Bumrah’s clever use of yorkers, slower deliveries, bumpers and slow bouncers makes him a nightmare for even the best of the finishers to score off.