New Delhi: With the 16th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) all set to begin from on March 31, cricket fans around the world are eagerly anticipating the return of their favourite teams and players. Among the many exciting aspects of IPL, one area of particular interest is the list of bowlers to watch out for.
Every year, IPL brings together some of the world’s best bowlers, who showcase their skills and compete against each other to help their team win. As the countdown to IPL draws to a close, IANS takes a look at the top five bowlers who can emerge as standout performers this season.
Umran Malik (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
The right-arm quick has been one of the most consistent performers in IPL when it comes to pace. With a smooth, clean action, he clocked over 150 kmph effortlessly in every match he played in the IPL last year.
The race for the fastest delivery of IPL last year was between Umran and Gujarat Giants’ Kiwi seamer Lockie Ferguson, which the former dominated the entire season before Ferguson surpassed him, bowling at 157.3 kmph in his side’s final match against Rajasthan Royals.
Umran (21) had picked up 22 wickets in 14 matches at an average of 22.50 last season. Now it has to be seen whether he can clock 160 kmph this season.
Even former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who holds the record of bowling the fastest ball in cricket history, has high praises for the young speed sensation from J&K and wants him to break his 20-year-old world record.
Jofra Archer (Mumbai Indians)
After recovering from a bout of injuries, the England speedster is set to return to IPL for the first time since 2020 and will be a terrific addition to Mumbai Indian’s pace attack. The 27-year-old pacer has played 35 IPL matches so far, picking up 46 wickets at an economy rate of 7.13.
After missing out on a lot of cricketing action due to injuries, Archer returned to competitive cricket in South Africa in January during the SA20. Playing for MI Cape Town, he claimed eight wickets at an average of 18 with best figures of 3/27. He was Cape Town’s joint-highest wicket-taker alongside skipper Rashid Khan.
The progress made in SA20 set Archer up for a smooth transition back into international cricket. He bagged an impressive 13 wickets in four ODIs and one T20I since making his comeback. It also included a career-best 6/40 against South Africa in the third ODI at the Diamond Oval.
The England fast bowler, who played no part in last season’s IPL, will give a big boost to MI’s chances this season, especially with Jasprit Bumrah and Jhye Richardson being ruled out due to injury.
Adam Zampa (Rajasthan Royals)
Australia’s premier spinner in limited-over cricket, Zampa has made an impact as one of the world’s top white ball spinners.
He has shown his bowling might in T20 leagues around the world. Since making his debut in Australia’s Big Bash League, he has picked up 114 wickets in 99 matches, which places him comfortably in the top 10 leading wicket-takers ever in the BBL.
With a skidding stock delivery, Zampa proved crucial in Australia’s maiden T20 World Cup triumph in the UAE in 2021, finishing with 13 wickets at an economy rate of just 5.81.
The legspinner has fared well in the IPL despite not getting much chance, picking up 21 wickets in 14 matches at an economy rate of 7.74. But Zampa is a match-winner with the ball and could be an asset for Rajasthan Royals if given more chances to showcase his skills.
The 30-year-old has featured in 72 T20Is, picking up 82 wickets at an economy of 6.93 with best figures of 5/19. Overall, he has featured in 232 T20 matches, claiming 269 wickets with best figures of 6/19, which came in the IPL against Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2016.
Kuldeep Yadav (Delhi Capitals)
After spending the majority of the 2020 season on the sidelines, the Chinaman bowler finished IPL 2022 with 21 wickets – third highest by a spinner in the season and fifth on the overall list of highest wicket-takers.
His exploits across categories while on national duty have proven his worth. His uniqueness of being a Chinaman bowler has always been the X Factor about him. Delhi Capitals will be hoping that the left-arm wrist spinner continues his fine form this year too.
Kagiso Rabada (Punjab Kings)
The South Africa pace spearhead has delivered in the IPL with his excellent skills. In 2019, he picked up 25 wickets and followed it with 30 wickets in the following season to win the coveted Purple Cap. In 2021, Rabada had grabbed 15 wickets, followed by 23 wickets in 2022, third in the list of highest wicket-takers.
Rabada (27) has played 63 IPL matches, picking up 99 wickets at an average of 19.86. With one more wicket, he will become the 19th bowler with 100 wickets in the cash-rich league.