The IPL is renowned for batsmen launching the ball to all parts of the ground, but fast bowlers sending the stumps cartwheeling is also a sight to behold.
Right from its inception in 2008, the IPL has seen a number of pacers make a lasting impression in the tournament. Pakistan’s left-armer Sohail Tanvir left a big mark in the inaugural edition of the competition. In subsequent years, the likes of Lasith Malinga, Morne Morkel and Dwayne Bravo made a splash as well.
For fast bowlers in the IPL, it is not just about running in and bowling quick but also about deceiving the batsmen with their variations. So apart from the slower balls, the batters also need to be wary of knuckle balls.
Five fast bowlers who could make a big impression in IPL 2021
With the latest edition of the IPL all set to get underway soon, let's take a look at five fast bowlers who could have a massive impact in the tournament.
#1 Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah’s rise in the IPL has been directly proportional to Mumbai Indians’ success in the T20 competition. He has been the franchise’s best bowler by some distance in the last few seasons.
Every time captain Rohit Sharma has turned to Bumrah for a breakthrough, the pacer has delivered the goods more often than not. The 27-year-old has multiple tricks up his trade to keep the batsmen on their toes.
Bumrah's yorker is among the deadliest in the business, and his well-directed bouncers can unsettle the very best. Last season, the MI pacer finished as the second leading wicket-taker, with 27 wickets in 15 matches at a strike rate of 13.33. His economy rate of 6.73 was exceptional as well.
Jasprit Bumrah claimed 19 wickets in IPL 2019. He was the Man of the Match for his splendid figures of 2 for 14 in the final as Mumbai successfully defended a total of 149. The pacer’s spell ensured MI stayed in the match despite having a low total to defend, and that made a big difference in the end.
Click here for the updated IPL 2021 fair play table.
#2 Kagiso Rabada
South African pacer Kagiso Rabada has graced the IPL with stellar performances in the last few seasons. He is a bowler who just loves running in and testing himself against the very best in the business.
If Delhi Capitals have been able to resurrect their fortunes in the last two IPL seasons, Rabada has played a key role in that.
He claimed 25 wickets in 12 matches in IPL 2019. Last year, he went a step further and clinched the Purple Cap, taking 30 scalps in 17 matches at a strike rate of 13.13.
The secret of Rabada’s success in the IPL has been his versatility. He is as good at bowling bouncers as he is in delivering yorkers. Batsmen who have faced the fiery Rabada in the IPL would vouch for it. Ask KKR's Andre Russell, who had no answer to a scorcher from the South African in the 2019 edition of the competition.
After stumbling at the last hurdle last season, Delhi Capitals would be keen to make amends this time around. For Rishabh Pant and co. to have a successful IPL campaign this year, an in-form Rabada would be one of the key ingredients.
#3 Anrich Nortje
Had England pacer Chris Woakes not pulled out of IPL 2020, Anrich Nortje might not have even featured in the tournament. He only came into the Delhi Capitals side as a replacement for the Englishman.
As things turned out, Nortje’s signing proved to be a highly fruitful one for DC. Running in with extreme pace, the Proteas fast bowler not only broke the record for the fastest ball in IPL history, but he also picked up a decent number of wickets.
In 16 matches, Nortje claimed 22 scalps at a strike rate of 16.63, even though his economy rate was on the higher side, at 8.39. Apart from bowling quick, the 27-year-old displayed good variations. Like his fellow pacer Rabada, Nortje, too, has a deadly yorker and put that to good use in IPL 2020.
The Proteas fast bowler arrives in the latest edition of the IPL high on confidence. He claimed 4 for 51 and 3 for 63 in the first two ODIs against Pakistan at home.
Nortje can prove to be expensive at times but can make up for it with his precious wicket-taking ability.
#4 Trent Boult
With Lasith Malinga no longer in the scheme of things for Mumbai Indians, the IPL’s most successful franchise will look to Trent Boult as Bumrah’s long-time bowling partner. The left-arm seamer did not give a bad account of himself by any means in IPL 2020.
Boult was, in fact, among the standout performers for MI last season, taking 25 scalps in 15 matches. His wickets came at a strike rate of 13.76 and an economy rate of just under eight. He made good use of the awkward angle a left-arm seamer can generate, unsettling a number of batsmen.
Boult reserved his best for the last, though. He was the Man of the Match in the IPL 2020 final against Delhi Capitals. He struck a massive blow off the very first ball in the summit clash, having the in-form and dangerous Marcus Stoinis caught behind with a beauty of a delivery.
The first-ball scalp set the tone for the final. Boult added the wickets of Ajinkya Rahane and Shimron Hetmyer to finish with game-defining figures of 3 for 30. Earlier in the tournament, he wrecked CSK with his best IPL figures of 4 for 18.
It was only a precursor of things to come later in the tournament.
#5 T Natarajan
When IPL 2020 began, T Natarajan was another youngster trying to make it big in a world full of superstars.
A year later, he returns to the IPL as a man reborn. Over the last few months, the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) pacer has achieved things most Indian players can only dream of.
He went to Australia as a net bowler. Fate intervened, and he ended up making his debut for India in all three formats. Natarajan was, by far, India’s best bowler in the T20I series and also played a significant role in the Gabba Test as well.
Recently, the left-armer enhanced his reputation by delivering the last over of a thrilling ODI against England in Pune. Against a rampant Sam Curran, Natarajan maintained his composure and ensured the game went India’s way.
For Natarajan, though, the rise to fame began in the IPL. He earned the sobriquet of 'yorker king' after consistently finding the block-hole under pressure in IPL 2020. In a match against Delhi Capitals, the left-arm seamer famously bowled six yorkers in a row.
His perfectly-pitched yorker to clean up AB de Villiers in the Eliminator against RCB will forever endear himself to the SRH faithful.