Despite T-20 being labelled as a batsman’s game, a bowler is the one who creates all the difference in the world. As Indian Premier League is almost upon us, there have been serious concerns about each team’s bowling outfit as most of the teams in the fray will be walking in with a batting heavy side and will occasionally rely on their bowling to deliver them.
However, teams like Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad will pack a powerful punch as they will be the only teams to walk into the fray with a decent bowling line up. In this piece, we will attempt to rate the bowling line ups of the different franchises who will cross swords with each other in the domestic extravaganza.
1. Mumbai Indians – 9.5 points
The best bowling line up of this tournament belongs to Mumbai Indians. Despite their best weapon, Lasith Malinga was ruled out, they still possess the likes of Trent Boult and Mitchell Mc Clenaghan in their arsenal. These two bowlers can continuously hit the deck hard and generate pace that would leave the batsmen rattled.
With all said and done, the death over specialist also resides in the glamorous ranks of Mumbai as Jasprit Bumrah will spearhead their bowling attack. A man who has proven himself time and time again will be lethal in the pitches of UAE as it offers substantial help to the bowlers.
If all of these options fail to scratch the surface, they can introduce Nathan Coulter-Nile who probably isn’t at his scintillating best but can easily leave the opponents terrorized in case if he gets going. They also boast of Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard who can chip in with crucial overs in the middle to harrow the batsmen consistently.
However, the one thing that the Mumbai team hasn’t got in their ranks is a proper spinner. Krunal Pandya can pull off a few tricks from his sleeve but he isn’t really a brilliant customer to topple things single-handedly. The solution to this problem can be a young Anukul Roy, but the fact that he is still untested makes life a bit difficult for the newcomer.
2. Chennai Super Kings – 8.5
If we start putting the names on paper for CSK, it would seem like a star-studded lineup but the reality is a far cry. The expected names on the sheet will be mainly of veterans that include the likes of Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Imran Tahir, Piyush Chawla and Harbhajan Singh.
However, things get exciting, when we delve a bit deeper that will introduce Lungi Ndidi, Josh Hazlewood, Sam Curran, Shardul Thakur, Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner and Deepak Chahar. Hazlewood has been one of Australia’s primary bowling weapons while Curran, Chahar, Shardul Thakur and Jadeja can creep in insidiously in the opposition’s batting line up and can implode them with some serious bangers.
However, the man to watch out for will be Lungi Ndidi as the South African fast bowler can hurl rockets at the batsmen that at times swing mysteriously, leaving them dazed and confused. With the current crop of players that also offers some all-round performance from Bravo and Watson, Chennai’s main reason of rise in this edition will be their bowling potential.
3. Royal Challengers Bangalore – 8
An excellent slew of fast bowlers can sweep the game off its feet for Bangalore as Dale Steyn will have his final shot at redemption.
Their bowling line up has prominent fast bowlers like Mohammad Siraj, Chris Morris, Navdeep Saini, Isuru Udana and Umesh Yadav. The most probable picks for the starting eleven will linger between Dale Steyn and Umesh Yadav, with Saini chipping in as the third bowler.
When it comes to slow bowling, especially in the sluggish pitches of UAE, Yuzvendra Chahal will find paradise there. He will be accompanied by Washington Sundar, who has hogged himself considerable limelight in the recent days for India.
They have a fair bit of back-up in Kane Richardson and Gurkeerat Singh who can rotate their arms for a couple of overs in the middle.
Despite bragging about a star-studded batting line up, one of the primary reasons of Bangalore’s failure is lack of quality bowling which has even witnessed them failing to defend totals over 200.
In order for them to cop success, they will need someone in their bowling ranks who can outshine his colleagues with regular decent performances. However, going by the name on papers and the assumption, that all these illustrious names do live up to their exorbitant billing, Bangalore can be a serious threat for others.
4. Kolkata Knightriders – 8
Despite, being a stellar batting force in the fray, KKR lacks significantly in the bowling going by their previous year’s showdowns. Lockie Ferguson is indeed an express train in fast bowling but his drifting away from good line and length has prevented him from belting out his masterclass.
Kolkata can fall back to one of the Australian linchpins to take care of their bowling unit, Pat Cummins. Known for his ability to generate brutal pace and swing, Cummins can split open the opposition batting with the new ball in the hand.
Going by the guess that the team would choose Banton to replace the likes of Lynn, they will have to resort to other Indian fast bowlers.
Despite Prasidh Krishna and Shivam Mavi not hitting the right chord in the precursor edition of the tournament, eyes will still linger on those two exciting fast bowlers.
Mavi has a knack of consistently clocking at 140 plus kays which can derail any batsman, given the pitch in UAE shares a great bond with the bowlers.
Narine and Kuldeep Yadav will also have major roles to play if KKR is to chronicle a few victories early in the game. Much to their liking, Andre Russell’s medium pace has disrupted the flow of the opponents in multiple occasions in the last year’s IPL.
If none of this works out for their bowling, English fast bowler Harry Gurney will be their best bet to salvation. Given the wide range of options that KKR can choose from, this makes them one of the best squads of the side.
- Sunrisers Hyderabad – 7.5
Hyderabad has India’s best bowler in their ranks in the form of Bhuvneshwar Kumar who can pull off several dot balls in those dying embers. To add to Bhuvi’s frugal bowling, they have the best spinner of the fray in their side as Rashid Khan is the man who will lead their spin department.
Leaving these two aside, they will heavily rely on Billy Stanlake, the towering monster who can hurl bullets from the cloud while Mohammad Nabi and Khaleel Ahmed can uniformly share the job role of keeping the big guns in check amongst themselves.
If Bhuvi combines well with Khaleel Ahmed and Billy Stanlake, half of Sunrisers’ job will be done in a trice. With Rashid coming in next, things will get tougher for the opposition. Most of the franchises will take a safety-first approach against Rashid, which will compel them to take the other bowlers head-on.
As the other bowlers will have the opportunity to deliver those crackers, Hyderabad can also fall back to a crucial wicket-taker in their ranks, Siddharth Kaul. Kaul is an effective partnership-breaker and has proven himself in the last couple of seasons that it is his wicket-taking capability that sets him apart from others. With the variety in SRH’s arsenal, they will pose a considerable threat to other outfits.
- Rajasthan Royals – 7
Dissecting their bowling line-up, there isn’t really much hope that one can extract from the Royals. Andrew Tye seems to be their biggest most promising fast bowler while Tom Curran can is their second pick to upset a few games.
The most exciting part about their bowling lineup is youngster and debutant, Kartik Tyagi. Known for his capricious swing and brutal pace, Tyagi has already shown himself to the world in the U-19 World Cup.
Despite the likes of Varun Aaron and Jaydev Unadkat being present in their ranks, they are simply ghosts of their former scintillating selves and won’t really be a game-changer.
However, the best that Royals has up their sleeves when it comes to bowling is Jofra Archer. The young English fast bowler can have a devastating impact on the opponent’s batting lineup and can leave the youngsters in terror with those nasty bouncers that brought Steven Smith down to his knees.
With all said and done, they have another gem in their ranks, who probably failed to propel their rating to a higher figure because of his mediocre performances in the last year. However, if Ben Stokes starts firing with the ball in his hand, Royals can very well be in the range of 9.
- Delhi Capitals – 7.5
The list seems star-studded for the Capitals, however, a lot will depend on Kagiso Rabada as the South African fast bowler is their brightest flame. Anrich Nortje, Marcus Stoinis, Ishant Sharma, Keemo Paul and Avesh Khan can share the bowling onus amongst themselves.
However, the team will bank heavily upon Ravichandran Ashwin and Sandeep Lamichhane to pull off those crucial middle overs with the pitch being a paradise for the spinners.
With all said and done, their most veteran cricketer will play the most important role of a mentor and also one of Delhi’s go-to bowlers as Amit Mishra will be an extremely important moniker for the side.
Once again, given their past history of failing in the biggest stages of all, Ricky Ponting would expect the bowlers to put in better shifts than what they have been doing in all those years.
- Kings XI Punjab – 7
Needless to say but Mohammad Shami is the best that Punjab will have up in their sleeves. UAE will definitely be a place that the fast bowler would love to bowl in. With Hardus Viljoen and Sheldon Cottrell being their next best options, Punjab will have to spot Indian fast bowlers to give some room for the management to rotate the foreigners in the squad.
They do have the best of foreign names when it comes to bowling with Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Chris Jordan still in their lineup, however, they will also have to field batsmen in the foreigners’ quota of 4 players which will eventually narrow down their bowling options.
If they need to avert such catastrophe, they must try out Ishan Porel, quite a big name for Bengal in the Ranji Trophy, who sparked several glorious spells that did upset the biggies in the past.