IPL 2020: Predicting the death bowlers of each team
The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League is two months away. Because the ICC T20 World Cup will take place in October this year, it makes this IPL season even more important as the world's best come to play in India for two months.
In the T20 format, the game has always been about the last few overs of an innings, to be precise, over 16 to 20, as the performance of a team during that phase can potentially define a match. Whether it's bowling, batting or fielding, if teams bring their 'A' game to the fore during the death overs, they can take the game away from the opposition.
In this piece, we are going to take a look at every team's bowling department and pick out each team's best pair that might bowl in the death overs. The stronger a team's bowling department is, the greater are their chances of going all the way into the tournament. So, without further ado, let's get straight into it.
#8 Rajasthan Royals - Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes
Bowling Options: Oshane Thomas, Ankit Rajpoot, Varun Aaron, Jaydev Unadkat, Akash Singh, Tom Curran, Andrew Tye, Kartik Tyagi, Mayank Markande, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Anirudha Joshi
Rajasthan Royals (RR) have an English pair of World Cup winners in Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes as their best bet in the death overs. Archer has been RR's best bowler for quite some time now and although Stokes hasn't been at his best in the IPL, he can certainly be banked upon after his tremendous performances throughout the year in all formats of the game.
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Stokes and Archer were brilliant last season and they didn't even play the whole tournament because they had to leave early to prepare for the World Cup. Archer, in the 11 matches that he played, bowled at an economy rate of just 6.76 and he ranked 10th in the most number of dot balls bowled, with 121, a great number for someone who constantly bowls in the powerplay and at the death. Stokes, on the other hand, wasn't that economical last season but among the other options available, he had the best economy rate after Archer, at 10.5.
Jaydev Unadkat can also be used as a death bowler but last season, Stokes was used at the death more and Unadkat had one of his worst seasons last year. So, expect two English internationals to bowl in the death overs for RR.
#7 Royal Challengers Bangalore - Navdeep Saini and Chris Morris
Bowling Options: Isuru Udana, Umesh Yadav, Kane Richardson, Dale Steyn, Mohammed Siraj, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Pawan Negi, Washington Sundar
One can see clearly why RCB have one of the weakest death bowling department in the league. On one hand, there's the inexperienced Navdeep Saini who had an average year last season and on the other hand, there's Chris Morris who has seen his career decline in 2019.
RCB will definitely have doubts over both Saini and Morris's ability to bowl at the death but these two are the only ones who seem capable of bowling at that stage of the innings. Despite their bad stats from last season, it seems, RCB don't really have better options at the death, which just tells you how weak they are in that area. Unless anyone drastically improves, the Bangalore franchise don't have a recognised option going into IPL 2020.
The likes of Dale Steyn and Umesh Yadav are potent with the new ball and one expects Virat Kohli to use them that way, but we could see them turn up to bowl the death if the initial plan with Saini and Morris fails.
Note: All statistics as of February 1, 2020