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 Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals.
The tournament has seen pacers rule the roost for the most part, although the influence of spinners is increasing as the weeks progress.
Some fine spinners will be on show in the Dubai finale, including promising youngster Rahul Chahar. The leg-spinner has had a great IPL campaign for the second year running, and features among our top-eight spinners for this edition.
RAHUL TEWATIA – RAJASTHAN ROYALS
Rahul Tewatia’s heroic exploits for Rajasthan Royals has been one of the stories of the season, with the journeyman all-rounder catapulting himself to IPL stardom. Few expected Tewatia to play such a key role for the Royals with both bat and ball, and he managed to single-handedly win a couple of games for the franchise.
While the major highlights of his campaign were in the batting department, Tewatia also performed an underrated role with the ball. His wrist-spin fetched him a total of 10 wickets and he rarely bowled an expensive spell over the course of 14 matches. Notably, he also managed to outshine fellow Rajasthan leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal.
AXAR PATEL – DELHI CAPITALS
Nine wickets in 14 games doesn’t tell the full story of Axar Patel’s impact in the 2020 IPL. It wasn’t the most rewarding of tournaments for finger spinners, but Patel was able to hold his own with a slew of economical displays.
The southpaw has conceded just 311 runs off the 282 deliveries he has bowled, and has helped to fill a massive void created by the injury to Amit Mishra. Among spinner, only Rashid Khan and Washington Sundar have better economy-rates than Patel this season.
RAVICHANDRAN ASHWIN – DELHI CAPITALS
Patel’s mandate has been to choke the flow of runs for Delhi, while it is the senior finger spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who has shouldered the majority of the wicket-taking burden. His bowling intelligence and the ability to mix up his speeds and variations have held him in good stead in the UAE.
14 wickets have been claimed by Ashwin so far in the tournament, and he will need to play a major role in Tuesday’s final if Delhi are to end Mumbai’s dominance. There have been times when he has leaked runs, though those instances have been few and far in between.
RAVI BISHNOI – KINGS XI PUNJAB
At just 20 years of age, the young leggie has been one of the finds of the season. Bishnoi’s debut IPL campaign was eagerly anticipated after his stirring displays in the ICC U19 World Cup earlier this year, but few would have expected him to make such a mark instantly.
Unfazed by the prospect of bowling to some of the best batsmen in the world, Bishnoi managed to become an integral member of the KXIP squad in no time. His cleverly disguised googly turned out to be his greatest asset, with the leg-spinner helping himself to 12 wickets in his maiden IPL campaign.
VARUN CHAKRAVARTHY – KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
An unfortunate shoulder injury has thwarted Chakravarthy’s hopes of representing India in Australia, although the mystery spinner can take solace from the fact that his displays have propelled him into contention for the national team.
Having played just one IPL game prior to the 2020 edition, the spinner gave an impressive account of himself in the UAE by snatching up 17 wickets in 13 appearances. His mystery bamboozled several batting line-ups, and his five-wicket haul against finalists Delhi will go down as among the best bowling performances in IPL history.
RAHUL CHAHAR – MUMBAI INDIANS
There have been many players who have taken the IPL by storm previously, only to fade away quickly and be labelled as one-season wonders. That has not been the case for Rahul Chahar who grabbed eyeballs with an assured display for champions Mumbai Indians in 2019.
Ahead of Tuesday’s final, Chahar has already gone two better than his 2019 IPL tally of 13 wickets and a few more could be on the cards against Delhi. The leg-spinner’s greatest strength has been his control, and the tactic of always attacking the stumps means batsmen cannot afford to miss. In a Mumbai bowling attack boasting of some elite pacers, Chahar’s spin provides the perfect complement.
YUZVENDRA CHAHAL – ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
Whereas most of the wrist spinners in the competition have opted to fizz the ball in with speed, Yuzvendra Chahal has stayed true to his strengths. Despite the shorter boundaries at some of the venues, the India leg-spinner has not been afraid to impart plenty of flight on the ball.
Conventional leg-spin has seen Chahal rewarded, with the Bangalore stalwart rarely resorting to bowling the googly. With 21 wickets to his name, the spinner’s performances have translated into one of his most prolific IPL campaigns. He judged the pace of the UAE pitches perfectly and could have had more wickets to his name had RCB not floundered in the business end of the competition.
RASHID KHAN – SUNRISERS HYDERABAD
The Afghanistan star’s reputation precedes himself and it was there for all to see in 2019 when batsmen were simply content to get through his overs safely. They attempted to do something similar this time around as well, only that Rashid came well prepared to turn the tables.
The No1 ranked T20I bowler in the world has applied the squeeze on batsmen in some style, with only 344 runs coming off his 384 deliveries. In between, 20 batsmen have also lost their wicket to his unorthodox wrist spin. Rashid’s 3-7 against Delhi Capitals are the most economical figures by any bowler in the 2020 IPL. His white-ball genius is unrivalled and he will continue to be a major draw in the IPL for years to come.