New Delhi: Bowlers have always played an important role in the Indian Premier League (IPL) from the beginning.
Over the past few seasons, the league has witnessed some stunning match-winning spells by spinners and sailors alike.
PTI takes a look at the top five bowlers expected to make a difference in the 15th edition of the lucrative event.
Kagiso Rabada (Punjab Kings)
After four seasons leading the bowling unit at the Delhi franchise, where he also won the Purple Cap in 2020, Rabada will now play for Punjab Kings.
Known for its breathtakingly fast bowling and toe-smashing yorkers, Rabada has established itself as a force to be reckoned with.
In Punjab, the 26-year-old will be their most experienced pace bowler and is expected to deliver some remarkable feats ball in hand.
With enough bounce expected at Wankhede and the Brabourne Stadium, Rabada, who is a proven match winner, could prove deadly. The pacer would also like to make up for last season’s disappointing performance.
Yuzvendra Chahal (Rajasthan Royals)
In recent years, Chahal has established himself as an essential cog in the Royal Challengers Bangalore lineup and became the backbone of the team’s bowling lineup.
The fact that he is ninth on the list of all-time leading wicket-takers in the competition, having claimed 139 scalps in 114 matches since 2013, speaks volumes about his skills.
Going into the new season in good form, he can win bowling matches in tandem with senior India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for the Rajasthan Royals, especially on the spin-friendly Wankhede circuit.
As the tournament progresses, the lanes slow down and spinners are expected to play a vital role.
Jasper Bumrah (Mumbai Indians)
One of the best bowlers in cricket today of all sizes, there’s no denying that Bumrah is an impact player.
The death overs specialist and arguably the best T20 bowler in the world right now, Bumrah has been a consistent performer for Mumbai Indians with the ability to take wickets at will.
Since his debut in the IPL in 2013, Bumrah has taken 130 wickets in 106 matches against an economy of 7.42.
A consistent performer, Bumrah has been among the top 10 leading wicket-takers in every season since 2016. His brutal pace and movement up front, and accuracy in death make him one of the most dangerous bowlers in the league and he is expected to continue to harass the batters on the Mumbai and Pune fields.
Rashid Khan (Gujarat Titans)
Having been the bowling mainstay of Sunrisers Hyderabad since his arrival in the league in 2017, Rashid Khan will now be taking his profession to newcomers Gujarat Titans.
The star Afghan leg spinner has the best economy rate of 6.33 in tournament history, while also taking 93 wickets in 76 matches.
He has been known to choke the opponent for runs every time his captain hands him the ball, as batters often choose to play out his four overs without taking any chances. And this season is expected to be no different for Rashid.
The 23-year-old, currently ranked number five in the world in the shortest form of the game, is adept at bowling flighted leg spinners, googlies, flippers among other variations that make him a deadly player.
With the competition stage being played in Mumbai and Pune where the conditions would help the spinners, Rashid could be deadly.
Harshal Patel (Royal Challengers Bangalore†
Harshal Patel made his IPL debut in 2012 and enjoyed his breakthrough season at Royal Challengers Bangalore last year. He took a record 32 wickets in 15 matches to win the Purple Cap in the 2021 edition of the competition.
The 31-year-old was extremely effective in the death-overs, a division that RCB had previously missed and that is why the franchise handed out a whopping Rs 10.75 crore to secure his services again.
A right arm with a big outswinger, Patel uses clever angles and variations to make up for his average pace. Slower bouncers, variations in yorkers and cutters are all part of his arsenal.
Having played eight T20Is for India, Patel is set to continue in the same vein as last season.
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