Cricket, as a sport since its birth, till the mid-2000s witnessed the bowlers having the wood over the batsmen. The shift of the dominance by the batsmen can be attributed to the introduction of the shortest format in the game, pitches favouring the batting side slightly more, and some changes in powerplay rules.
Because of this change in supremacy, the role of the bowlers has grown increasingly challenging. In the last few years, batting teams including India have found a way to clobber plenty of runs in the final five overs or so in any limited-overs match. This is where the expertise to bowl some economic death overs come to play. In today’s era, very few bowlers can bowl pinpoint yorkers or proper slower deliveries to tie the batsmen down.
Traditionally, India have never been known to produce a lot of good fast bowlers. The likes of Zaheer Khan, Javagal Shrinath, and Irfan Pathan were excellent with the new ball. However, they used to tilt the scales in favour of the opposition by giving away valuable runs at the back end that later proved to be the difference between the two sides. Nevertheless, in the last couple of years, the Men in Blue have brought together some crop of bowlers who have troubled the opposition even in the death overs.
We take a look at four best death bowlers that Men in Blue possess:
Deepak Chahar has been setting the T20 international stage under fire in recent months. The right-arm quick took the best bowling figures by any bowler in a T20 international against Bangladesh in Nagpur earlier this month.
Chahar finished with figures of 3.2-0-7-6, eclipsing the previous record set by Ajantha Mendis. The 27-year old has perfectly filled the void in absence of some injured pacers, pressing his case fiercely for a spot in India’s squad for the World T20 next year. His ability to move the ball both ways with complete accuracy with the new ball is one of the many reasons why he has found success.
Against Bangladesh in that same game, Chahar also bowled with complete control in the death overs using the wet ball in dewy conditions to headline India’s series win. The 27-year old’s rise to the ranks gives the men in blue an extra bowler who can perfectly lead the attack in case one of their frontline bowlers go injured.
The Bengal pacer is one of the best bowlers going around in Test matches. Along with Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami destroyed every batting line-up on their way with ease in their home season and came to be recognized as one of the greatest bowling attacks in the world. As much as Shami’s stocks kept increasing in red-ball cricket, he is as deadly in limited-overs cricket as well.
This was evident from India’s encounter against Afghanistan in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Putting only 224 on the board, the 29-year old was given the responsibility to defend 16 off the last over. Shami nailed three unplayable deliveries in the last three balls that resulted in a hattrick and a nerve-wracking win for India.
He bowled two yorkers in two balls before bowling one full delivery with a searing pace to finish things for India. The Uttar Pradesh-born pacer must be handed the nod in the trial games leading to the T20 World Cup next year. He has proved that he is a gun bowler even with the white ball in his hand. In the Australian conditions that will likely assist the pace bowlers, Shami would be a tough customer to get away from.
The Meerut-born pacer has been struggling of late for form because of recurring injuries. Bhuvneshwar Kumar last featured for India in the month of August against the West Indies in a One-day international at Port Of Spain. Having made his white-ball debut in 2012, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has the habit of outsmarting the batsmen with his deadly in swingers with the new ball.
Not only this, the 29-year old made a habit to curb the run-flow and pick wickets at the back end by regularly bowling in the blockhole and not giving batsmen any room. Along with Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar became a headache for batting line-ups all around the globe since both had the knack of troubling the batsmen at all the stages of the game.
Although the speedster remains one of the first-choice bowlers for India in limited-overs cricket, he needs to raise the bar by becoming consistent again. With many fast bowlers waiting in the wings, the 29-year old requires to make every chance count.
Jasprit Bumrah was first spotted in the Indian Premier League while featuring for Mumbai Indians. The men in blue decided to hand the lanky pacer a debut in the year 2016 for a dead rubber in the five-match ODI series against Australia in 2016. He made an impact right away, picking up two wickets in ten overs for 40 runs.
In the upcoming months, Bumrah became an indispensable member of the Indian limited-overs setup. He rapidly rose to become one of the best new-ball bowlers as well as for expertise in bowling in death. At present, he is probably the greatest bowler at the back end of the innings and his inswinging yorkers are very hard to negotiate.
According to an analysis in CricViz, the Ahmedabad-born pacer has one of the lowest economy rates (5.71) in overs 41-50 for all the bowlers who have bowled minimum 100 overs since the year 2000. With an average of 21.88 and 20.17 in ODIs and T20Is respectively, Bumrah will undoubtedly go down as one of the best bowlers that India has produced.
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