The Indian Premier League (IPL), regarded as the toughest franchise-based tournament in the sport of cricket, has had a reputation of being host to some of the greatest talents of world cricket. While it is the batsmen, who always steal the limelight, the bowlers are yet to get the kind of attention and respect that they deserve. They are the ones who get the things set up before the batsmen come in and tonk the ball into the stands.
It might seem that in tricky situations like a super over, the team that hits the most number of runs wins, but the reality is something that the layman is unaware of. It is the bowlers, who have the key to success. If they manage to restrict the opposition to a low score in their quota of six deliveries, more than half the job is done.
The opposition gets under pressure and tends to make mistakes that the batsmen can capitalize on. This makes the bowlers, the unsung heroes of the super overs. And, every captain has his go-to player in such situations, whom he turns to, every time such a situation comes.
So, here’s the list of such players, who can get their team across the finish line successfully in the IPL: –
1. Mohammed Shami- Kings XI Punjab
There is no doubt that in 2019, Mohammed Shami rediscovered himself. His pace, accuracy and consistency, everything reached a whole new level. His performances throughout the year, in every format for team India, was really commendable. For example, in the format in which his best performances came in, the Test matches, he played 8 of them and took 33 wickets in total.
The Indian Premier League though is still the one fort that is left for him to conquer. He has a decent record in the league, with 40 wickets to his name, in the 49 odd matches he has played. But, the Shami that has come to light in 2019 will surely look to improve these numbers. And, in all probabilities, he will. In the 2020 season of the tournament, he will be leading the bowling attack for Punjab.
Shami’s newfound talent of bowling yorkers at will, coupled with his decent pace and ability to hit the right areas consistently, will be making him the go-to bowler for the Kings XI. Their attack has players, who might be able to generate a couple of clicks extra pace, but the stature to which Shami has risen, in the past one year, will make him the pick of the bowlers if it comes to bowling super overs.
2. Bhuvneshwar Kumar- Sunrisers Hyderabad
The swing master from Uttar Pradesh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been a bowling mainstay for the Sunrisers Hyderabad for quite some time now. After getting signed by the team in 2014, he has stayed with them till now and has been doing really well for the franchise year after year. And, due to this very reason, he was appointed as the vice-captain of the side, and even led the team in a few matches, when the captain was unavailable.
Having had a rough year in international cricket by his standards, he will be looking to make it big in the upcoming season of the IPL. The two-time purple cap winner, Bhuvi is the kind of guy, who can be trusted with the ball at any given stage of the match. Be it the death overs, or the challenge of the first powerplay, he will always rise up to the occasion and give his best every time.
With not a whole lot of experience in the bowling unit, especially, the pacers, he will be leading the bowling attack of the Sunrisers. And, given the trust that Kane Williamson, the captain of the side, has in Bhuvi’s abilities, it should not come as a surprise to anyone if he turns his head towards him, every time the match goes into a super over.
3. Jofra Archer- Rajasthan Royals
A name that has a lot of buzz around it owing to stellar Big Bash performances, Jofra Archer, has been one of the most in-focus foreign players in the Indian Premier League. Though on paper, his true self might not be reflected, but with the immense talent and potential he has, he naturally becomes the leader of the pack in every squad he joins.
In IPL, after his debut in 2018, he has been a part of 21 matches and has managed to pick up 26 wickets while maintaining an average of 23.69 and a decent economy of 7.53. These numbers may not look stellar, but the talent that this 24-year-old bowling all-rounder from England has can make any batsman sweat while facing him.
With his genuine pace and his craftiness, he can bowl in any situation with ease. Owing to the absence of any other bowler, apart from him and Jaydev Unadkat in the Rajasthan squad, it will be a tough call for Steve Smith, to choose a bowler in tough situations. But, the kind of proven track record that Archer has with him, will make him the better of the two, when it comes to bowling in the super over.
4. Pat Cummins- Kolkata Knight Riders
The costliest buy of this year’s auction, Pat Cummins, will be a part of the Kolkata Knight Riders squad for 2020 season of the Indian Premier League. Cummins is coming into this season of IPL, riding upon the waves of great performances he has had for the Australian team in the year gone by. In 2019, he had a great time with the ball in hand.
A 10 wicket match haul in Tests, a five-wicket haul against India in India, and more than 9 wickets in 7 T20Is he played were some of the highlights of his run in 2019. Owing to all of this and his talent to work wonders with the ball in any given situation during the run of play, made the Kolkata Knight Riders, shell out a record INR 15.50 crore, in acquiring him.
But, this burden of a high price tag, though might seem too gruesome for any player, but for Cummins, it is not going to be the case. As far as he is known, he will be putting his head down and give his best for the team that has put this much of trust in his abilities.
The fact that the KKR management has shelled out this insane amount, just ahead of the big 2021 auction, means that they will be expecting him to rise to the top in tough situations. This places Cummins on the top of the list of bowlers that would be bowling for the Kolkata based franchise this season.
5. Kagiso Rabada- Delhi Capitals
The prodigy from South Africa, Kagiso Rabada, has been one of the most impactful youngsters, the IPL has seen so far. In his debut season in 2017, he played only 6 matches and took the same number of wickets. But, the 2019 edition of the league was the one in which he shot to fame. In the 18 matches that he was a part of, he was responsible for the dismissal of 31 batsmen. And, these numbers are impressive by any standards.
Rabada, since his debut in the top tier of the sport, has tasted a whole lot of success. And, has managed to become one of the bowling spearheads of any side that he has been a part of. This makes him one of those bowlers, who might not have the experience of playing in tough situations, but can get through testing times, just on the basis of the skill and craft that they have.
In a side like Delhi Capitals, which is still looking for its first IPL trophy, Rabada is a key player. And, given the style of the captaincy of Shreyas Iyer and the lineup that the team has, Rabada, will be the bowler, who will be given the responsibility to handle the ball whenever the team finds itself competing in a super over.
6. Dale Steyn- Royal Challengers Bangalore
The ‘Steyn Gun’ as the fans call him, Dale Steyn is most definitely the man, on whom can the saying, ‘Form is temporary, but class is permanent’, be applied without any hesitation. Steyn, having played his last match for South Africa, took retirement from the longest form of the game, signed up to play the Big Bash League for the first time in his career.
This also helped him make an international comeback when he was announced to be a part of the Proteas squad for the series against England. While age may have taken over the sharpness that he had in his early stage of the cricketing career, at 36, he is still capable of tearing apart any batting order of the world.
His pace and the toe-crushing yorkers are enough to make any batsman think twice, before going for a big hit against him. He still is capable enough to bowl those fierce deliveries of his whenever the need comes. Having had a fairly decent BBL, Steyn will look to kill it in the IPL too, making his contention of the South African squad for the upcoming World T20.
And, given the abilities he has, the captain of the franchise he will be playing for, the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Virat Kohli, will never think twice before handing him the ball, if a match goes into a super over.
7. Deepak Chahar- Chennai Super Kings
A player, who broke into the Indian team after having a great season of IPL, Deepak Chahar, can be trusted with the ball in most of the scenarios that anyone can think of. He did have a couple of moments during the previous season that made everyone think that he did not have the abilities to make it to the highest level. But, every time, he made sure that he bounced back and showcased his abilities in their truest sense.
With backing and mentoring of a stalwart like MS Dhoni behind him, alongside the huge fan following that wants CSK to win every time they step on to the field, Deepak has a lot of burden on his young shoulders. And, he has managed to fare pretty well with it, every time, he is given a responsibility by his team’s leadership.
Having had a decent stint with the Indian team in 2019, IPL 2020 is going to be big for Chahar, who will be aiming for a place in the Indian squad for the World T20. With the season expected to be the one with a number of close finishes, matches are bound to go into the super over. And, MS, as everyone knows, will not shy away from giving him the ball in case CSK has to play a super over, getting Deepak a chance to prove his abilities to their full potential.
8. Jasprit Bumrah- Mumbai Indians
Unarguably one of the best pacers in international cricket at this point of time, Jasprit Bumrah, is the man to get hold of in any tricky situation, in any given format or stage of the game of cricket. With the ball in hand, Bumrah can work out wonders, and in IPL, there is no one else, who can be trusted as much as Bumrah with the ball.
His yorkers, changes in line and length like a breeze and that too with perfection, along with the control that he has one the ball’s movement, are his assets. Anybody, while watching this man bowl can be forgiven to believe that he has charmed the ball. You name a type of delivery, and Bumrah will be there to bowl it with complete control and perfection.
Given his talent and near-perfect execution, even with that peculiar action of his, a sure shot winning bet can be placed on the fact that the captain of any squad that Bumrah is a part of, will want him to have the ball in hand in crunch situations. And, Rohit Sharma, the captain of the Mumbai Indians, will look nowhere else, if his team lands up in the midst of a super over.
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