The 2020 edition of the much-awaited Indian Premier League (IPL) will commence within a few days in the foreign land of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
People generally associate T20 format with hard-hitting batsmen who dominate the game as well as the headlines with their thunderous innings. But, in reality, bowlers always had an equal say in the proceedings. The ability to influence the outcome of a game lies as much with bowlers as with the batsmen.
Indian Premier League (IPL) recognises such efforts and awards the leading wicket-takers of every season with the Purple Cap.
Over the years, the pacer has dominated the list of Purple Cap winners, winning ten out of twelve times. Pragyan Ojha (2010) and Imran Tahir (2018) are the only spinners to achieve this feat.
In a build-up to 2020 edition of the cash-rich league, let’s take a look at one bowler from each franchise who can potentially win the Purple Cap.
Chennai Super Kings: Imran Tahir
At 41, Imran Tahir is ageing like a fine wine. On slow and square-turner pitches of the UAE, Tahir’s expertise and sorcery will be a headache for even the strongest of the batting unit.
With 26 wickets in just 17 games, Tahir was Purple Cap winner of the last season. He will be the crucial component of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) bowling line-up this year as well.
Delhi Capitals: Kagiso Rabada
Kagiso Rabada’s exploits in the last edition of the tournament sealed the first-ever playoffs berth for Delhi Capitals (DC) since 2012. Rabada, who picked up 25 wickets in 12 games, was the franchise’s leading wicket-taker last season.
Although pacers are not expected to get much favour from the dry and dusty surfaces in the UAE, Rabada’s contention to win Purple Cap can’t be ruled out. He possesses a wide range of trickeries to deceive even the most skilful batsmen.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Yuzvendra Chahal
Over the years, Yuzvendra Chahal has established his spot among the most consistent performers for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Last season, the spinner picked up 18 wickets in 14 matches for his side.
Chahal is an incredibly audacious spinner who lures batsmen with a series of tossed-up deliveries. And in the process, he keeps on providing significant breakthroughs at regular intervals. His street-smartness will be a scary proposition for the batsmen in the UAE.
Mumbai Indians: Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah would be shouldering a massive burden of spearheading Mumbai Indians’ (MI) pace attack in the absence of Lasith Malinga.
Bumrah is among the rare breed of cricketers who rarely falters under pressure. He scalped 19 wickets in 16 games at an astounding economy of 6.63 in 2019. Bumrah is the leading candidate from MI to bag Purple Cap in IPL 2020.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan has always been a captain’s go-to bowler irrespective of the conditions and circumstances. He has an innate ability to chip away with crucial wickets in any stages of the game.
Khan’s remarkable consistency in the shortest format of the game has already made him a household name. He picked up 17 wickets in 15 games at a miserly economy of 6.28 in 2019. The leggie will be aiming to replicate the same sort of performances this season as well.
Kings XI Punjab: Chris Jordan
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) shelled out INR 3 crores to acquire the services of Chris Jordan for the IPL 2020. The English pacer is a T20 specialist, who is renowned for his deceptive variations and consistent yorkers.
With the inclusion of Jordan, KXIP’s long-standing issues of giving too many runs in the death overs will vanish to some extent.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Sunil Narine
Sunil Narine is another spinner who can weave a web around opposition’s batting unit with his slightly-tweaked bowling action. Narine recently played an instrumental part in guiding Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) to their fourth CPL trophy.
Overall, the 32-year-old has scalped 122 wickets in 110 matches at an economy rate hovering just over 6 per over. One shouldn’t be surprised if he gets away with Purple Cap in IPL 2020.
Rajasthan Royals: Jofra Archer
Rajasthan Royals paid a whopping INR 7.20 crores to acquire Jofra Archer in 2018. He was not very popular at that time, but things have changed now. The Barbados-born has emerged from the obscurity to the prominence after a stellar couple of years with England Cricket.
Archer can smother any batting unit with his sheer pace alone. Last season, he scalped 11 wickets in 11 matches for the Royals.