The 2020 Indian Premier League prepares to wind down proceedings in the UAE after nearly two months of action, with a blockbuster final on Tuesday between the Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals.
The finale in Dubai will feature the leading three wicket-takers in the tournament – Kagiso Rabada, Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult. That all three of them are pacers is in keeping with the trend of the campaign which has seen fast bowlers dominate over the spinners.
Pace has been key for the eight teams and several fast bowlers have impressed over the course of the last seven weeks. Here, we rank the top eight pacers from the 2020 edition of the IPL.
SANDEEP SHARMA – SUNRISERS HYDERABAD
Sandeep Sharma has always been a bowler who raises his levels for the IPL, and the seamer’s 2020 campaign has proven to be no different. His pace of around 130 kph might be as gentle as they come, but Sharma makes it work with his ability to find movement with the new ball.
His radar has been on point throughout the tournament, and his accuracy has been rewarded with 14 dismissals. There have been some notable scalps for the Hyderabad bowler, including those of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. An economy-rate of just over seven runs an over has been another notable feature of Sharma’s campaign.
T NATARAJAN – SUNRISERS HYDERABAD
The fact that Sunrisers Hyderabad have barely felt the void created by Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s departure because of injury is largely down to the emergence of T Natarajan.
The left-arm seamer was hardly a known commodity in the competition after what was a forgettable 2017 debut season with Kings XI Punjab. Plenty of experienced batsmen, as well as India’s selectors, have taken note of Natarajan after what has been a sensational season for the pacer.
If there is one thing that Natarajan does well, then it is the ability to fire yorkers at will. No other bowler in the competition bowled as many yorkers as the SRH seamer, and his delivery to clean up AB de Villiers’ stumps will be one of the highlights of the 2020 edition. His stellar death bowling has been rewarded with a maiden India T20I call-up.
MOHAMMED SHAMI – KINGS XI PUNJAB
The India stalwart was never a big mover in the IPL until his 2019 displays which saw him claim a total of 19 wickets. Shami went one better on that number this time in the UAE, capping off his campaign with a total of 20 scalps in 14 outings.
While most of his wickets were claimed in the powerplay with the new ball, Shami also showed that he can dazzle at the death. He showed he can nail the yorkers under pressure when he successfully defended a total of six runs in KXIP’s Super Over win over Mumbai Indians. Although he can be a bit expensive at times, Shami’s ability to seam the ball both ways will always make a threat in any format of the game.
ANRICH NORTJE – DELHI CAPITALS
The South African wouldn’t have even played in the competition if England all-rounder Chris Woakes had not withdrawn his participation. Now, Nortje will be one of the key men for Delhi in Tuesday’s final after what has been a superb introduction to the IPL.
Five of the six fastest deliveries recorded in the campaign have been bowled by the Proteas pacer, and he has helped himself to 20 wickets along the way. His pace partnership with compatriot Rabada has been pivotal to Delhi’s march to the final, and the duo will need to fire again if Delhi are to land a maiden title.
TRENT BOULT – MUMBAI INDIANS
Mumbai Indians’ capture of Trent Boult from Delhi Capitals is turning out to be the best trade in IPL history, with the Blackcaps pacer adding a new dimension to the bowling attack of the defending champions.
In Jasprit Bumrah, Mumbai already had a pacer who thrived in the death overs. With Boult’s arrival, Mumbai have found someone who revels in the powerplay. 22 wickets have come in just 14 matches for the Kiwi who has been tremendous with the new ball in hand. His 14 wickets in the powerplay overs are the highest by any bowler in IPL 2020.
KAGISO RABADA – DELHI CAPITALS
Part of the reason that Delhi were amenable to trading Boult to Mumbai is their belief in the abilities of Rabada to spearhead their attack. The Proteas fast bowler is on course to clinch the Purple Cap this year after snaring 29 wickets so far and even has a chance to break Dwayne Bravo’s all-time IPL record of 32 scalps in 2013.
Unlike Boult, the majority of Rabada’s dismissals have come in the middle or death overs when the batsmen have attempted to take him on. In fact, only one of his 29 wickets has come in the powerplay in 2020. He would be ranked much higher if he could become lethal with the new ball, as well.
JOFRA ARCHER – RAJASTHAN ROYALS
One man who had no trouble in finding the breakthroughs during the powerplay is Rajasthan’s Jofra Archer. The England pacer claimed 20 wickets overall in a fine individual campaign, with half of them coming in the first six overs of matches.
Not only did Archer guarantee wickets with the new ball for Rajasthan, he also could be relied upon to concede the least amount of runs. His tournament economy-rate of 6.55 is the best among all fast bowlers including Bumrah. It is a shame that we didn’t get to see more of Archer, because of Rajasthan’s early exit.
JASPRIT BUMRAH – MUMBAI INDIANS
There are few guarantees in life and Bumrah turning up the heat for Mumbai in the IPL is among them. The India pacer was a little slow to get off the blocks in the tournament, but he quickly found his rhythm as the games progressed.
More importantly for Mumbai, Bumrah has peaked at just the right time and comes into the final on the back of 10 wickets in his last three appearances. It has not been the yorkers which have been Bumrah’s trump card this time around, with the pacer using seam movement and his surprise bouncer to good effect. Tight bowling at the death has always been a feature of the India stalwart’s bowling, and he has maintained an excellent economy-rate of just 6.71.