T20 cricket is tipped to be a batsman’s game. It’s known that the slam-bang version of the game is for all the big hits to the boundary and the tall scores. However, there is a wrong perception that the best batting team generally are the favourites to win titles.
But they don’t. Ask Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). They have had the best of batting line-ups over the years in the IPL but they’ve failed to put in combined performances. Moreover, bowlers win you tournaments. A decent batting line-up can do with a strong bowling attack while vice-versa isn’t always true.
Hence, these days, there is a lot more focus on the bowlers. In fact, there were as many as 26 bowlers or bowling all-rounder bought in the auction this time around.
Thus, with all teams lined up for the moment, here we rate the bowling attacks of the teams for the 2020 IPL: –
1. Chennai Super Kings (CSK) – 7/10
As expected, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) boast of a spin-heavy attack. They have as many as seven frontline spinners which includes a couple of all-rounders in their ranks. With the Chepauk track expected to take turn, CSK are likely to unleash at least three spinners at their opposition when they play at home. While the spin department has depth and quality, it’s the fast bowling department where there are a few concerns.
Deepak Chahar’s rise has been fantastic but he is currently out of action due to a lower back injury. He is expected to be back only in March or April, according to chief selector MSK Prasad. Hence, Chahar might be rusty while Shardul Thakur is the only other capped Indian pace bowler. Moreover, they have Lungi Ngidi who is very injury prone as well. CSK have added Josh Hazlewood to their squad as well.
The Australian pacer returned to T20 cricket after a gap of nearly four years when he turned out to play in the BBL. Moreover, they have Sam Curran who isn’t a proven customer in the shortest format. That leaves them with Dwayne Bravo who has been on the decline. Thus, death bowling will be an issue and they have arguably the worst bowling attacks for the upcoming season.
2. Rajasthan Royals (RR) – 7.5/10
No team has blown as hot and cold as Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the last couple of seasons. Their obsession with Jaydev Unadkat isn’t done yet as they’ve bought him back in this auction. But it will be Jofra Archer who will be leading the pace attack. RR bought quite a few overseas pacers as well. The likes of Oshane Thomas, Tom Curran and Andrew Tye have been included to the squad.
This is in addition to Varun Aaron and Ankit Rajpoot. While this looks good and RR do have depth but most of the overseas players pick themselves and there are no spots for any of them in the starting XI. Aaron and Rajpoot are the two Indian options, apart from Unadkat. They have a tendency of leaking too many runs.
Meanwhile, the spin attack looks slightly thin. They have three leg-spinners – Shreyas Gopal, Mayank Markande and Rahul Tewatia. Mahipal Lomror is the only finger spinner in the squad. Hence, RR get 7.5 for their bowling attack.
3. Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) – 7.5/10
While there might be a couple of big names in the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) squad, the bowling attack doesn’t look the best. The likes of Sheldon Cottrell and Chris Jordan add some variety and depth but it will be unlikely that both of them will play together. They have the likes of Chris Gayle, Glenn Maxwell, Nicholas Pooran and Mujeeb Ur Rahman already in the squad.
Mohammed Shami is the only capped Indian fast bowler. And he tends to blow hot, blow cold massively in T20 cricket and has been guilty of leaking a lot of runs in the shortest format. There are the likes of Arshdeep Singh and Ishan Porel who are promising but untested in big pressure situations.
KXIP have all kinds of spinners and a couple of game-changers too. Mujeeb is excellent while Krishnappa Gowtham has been in smashing form with both bat and ball as well. They also have leggie Murugan Ashwin and left-arm spinner J Suchith. However, the entire bowling unit doesn’t wear a great look on paper either.
4. Delhi Capitals (DC) – 8/10
Delhi Capitals (DC) seem to have a decent pace attack which will be led by Kagiso Rabada. The premier South African fast bowler was at his best last season while Ishant Sharma who was a surprise pick in the auction was also good as he largely was a powerplay bowler.
Delhi have Mohit Sharma who hasn’t played any cricket since featuring in a single game in the 2019 IPL. Avesh Khan and Harshal Patel are promising aspects and have done well in domestic cricket.
Meanwhile, Ravichandran Ashwin’s inclusion (trade with KXIP) has added some depth to the spin department which already has the likes of Amit Mishra, Sandeep Lamichhane and Axar Patel. The Delhi bowling attack does look good on paper but they haven’t delivered consistently. Hence, they get an eight.
5. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) – 8.5/10
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) were the centre of attraction in the IPL auction this time as they bought the most expensive player of the season. In fact, Pat Cummins almost became the second-highest paid player in the IPL auction. He’s been in wonderful form and has picked wickets across formats.
They also have Harry Gurney who is a proper T20 bowler while Lockie Ferguson’s pace might rattle the batsmen. But the problem has been the fitness of the Indian fast bowlers. Kamlesh Nagarkoti is recovering from injuries while Shivam Mavi has been dealing with a few of them. Meanwhile, Prasidh Krishna has been impressive but has also leaked runs and is injury-prone as well.
As far as spinners are concerned, Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav will be leading the charge. Varun Chakravarthy, M Siddarth and Pravin Tambe have been picked up in this auction. Hence, KKR get 8.5.
6. Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) – 8.5/10
It was on the back of their bowlers that Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) have found success in the past. In fact, the bowling attack was one of the reasons for their title-winning run in 2016. However, the form has dipped over the years.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is constantly in and out with niggles and injuries. He doesn’t seem to have the same effect. There are the likes of Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, Basil Thampi, T Natarajan, who form a good, solid Indian core bowling attack. Add to this, Billy Stanlake and Rashid Khan who have been very good in the recent past.
SRH have five spinners and three of them are left-arm options. Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan have been the heart of SRH’s middle and lower middle-order with both bat and ball. They also have Fabian Allen and he completes to the spin options for SRH which looked pretty thin in the IPL.
7. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) – 9/10
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have often been guilty of having a star-studded batting line-up and then falling big time. However, over the last couple of seasons, they’ve looked to invest more in bowlers. In fact, RCB seem to have a very good Indian core bowling group.
Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj make up the pace attack. On the other hand, they have the likes of Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar and Pawan Negi as far as the spinners are concerned. They have added some quality international quicks in the auction this time around.
Dale Steyn is back while Kane Richardson is likely to be the backup option. Meanwhile, the pick of Chris Morris was an excellent one and he’s shown signs of improving every day as well. Thus, there is quality and depth on paper. But the only problem for RCB has been delivering the results which has been inconsistent.
8. Mumbai Indians (MI) – 9.5/10
Theirs is little doubt that Mumbai Indians (MI) arguably have the best bowling attack in this competition. Right-arm pacer, left-arm pacer, finger spinner or wrist-spinner – you name it and they have the resources. The spin options aren’t as many but the pace attack covers it up.
MI boast of the likes of Jasprit Bumrah who is one of the world’s best all-format bowlers. Mitchell McClenaghan and Lasith Malinga have been a core part of the setup while Trent Boult was traded in from Delhi. The addition of Nathan Coulter-Nile only adds teeth to the already strengthened attack. The only concern might be the lack of proper Indian fast bowling options apart from Bumrah and Hardik Pandya who is essentially an all-rounder.
The four-time IPL champions have Rahul Chahar, Jayant Yadav, Krunal Pandya and Anukul Roy. The pitch at Wankhede has also dictated of how MI’s bowling line-up looks. However, they boast of a potent attack.
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