Who are the five greatest death bowlers in the world?
T20 Cricket is a highly volatile game. Within an over, the game can change completely. No other format offers such fluctuations. Especially, at the back-end of a T20 innings. Runs can be scored incredibly quickly, with power hitters such as Andre Russell or Hardik Pandya able to muster up to 25 runs in a single over. The best death bowlers in T20 Cricket, therefore have a tough job on their hands.
However, they are armed with the required skills to control the run rate or dismiss such intimidating batsmen. This is where they have an edge over less able bowlers and it is those teams and franchises who have top quality death bowlers, that go on to win T20 tournaments.
So, who are currently the top five in the world?
5. Kagiso Rabada
Having evolved into a top tier T20 bowler in the last two years, Kagiso Rabada comes in at number five on our list, in both IPL and international cricket. His rise, both as a new ball and as a death bowler, has resulted in the Delhi Capitals upturn in fortunes.
The Delhi-based IPL team reached the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons in 2019 and then went one better to register their maiden IPL final in 2020. An on-form Rabada has the ability to bowl yorkers accurately at the death. His super over to Andre Russell vs KKR in 2019, a prime example of just this.
However, Rabada also has a searing short ball that can cause problems for even the best of batsmen because it can be a surprise delivery, since it does pose risk, with fine leg and third man often inside the circle towards the end of a T20 innings.
Kagiso Rabada is number five on our list of “Best death bowlers in T20 cricket.”
4. Chris Morris
Chris Morris is at number four on this list. Despite not being called up much to play for South Africa, Morris has been excellent in T20 leagues all over the world. His performances in the 2019 and 2020 IPL resulted in him being purchased for a IPL-record fee at the 2021 IPL Auction by the Rajasthan Royals.
In the Big Bash League 2020, Chris Morris ended as the second-highest wicket-taker, with 22 scalps in just 15 games at an economy of just over 8. This is very healthy, considering that he bowls the difficult overs. Morris is perhaps even more skilled at bowling yorkers than his countryman Rabada.
Likewise though, he has a rapid short ball that reaches speeds of up to 95 miles per hour and can trouble batsmen looking to advance down the crease.
Chris Morris is number four on our list of “Best death bowlers in T20 cricket.”
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3. Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Coming in at number three is perhaps the unluckiest amongst them all, due to the fact that he has been injured most of the last two years. However, an in-form Bhuvneshwar Kumar is one of the best death bowlers in the world.
Unlike many others, he has a fantastic slower ball, in the form of a knuckleball, which is very difficult to pick from the hand because he changes the grip at the last minute. Therefore, batsmen must be alert, if they are to read it well.
The full inswinging yorker is also very much a part of Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s armoury and he uses it to pin batsmen in front, when they are looking to step on the pedal during the death overs. He remains the only player to win the purple cap twice in the IPL, doing so in 2016 and 2017.
His bowling will be crucial for India at the 2021 World T20, if they are to record their second tournament triumph.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is number three on our list of “Best death bowlers in T20 cricket.”
2. Jofra Archer
In second place is one of the scariest bowlers in the world, Jofra Archer. He is a prized asset in T20 cricket and particularly at the death for both England the T20 franchises that he plays for. Archer shot to fame with his performances at the Big Bash League in 2017/18, which resulted in him receiving both an opportunity in the Indian Premier League and later a national call-up for England.
Archer gets tight to the crease, which makes his yorker pinpoint accurate at the death overs. It is often targeted at the base of stumps and at the legs, which means that if the batsmen misses the ball, they are likely to be bowled or leg before wicket. Like all quality death bowlers, Archer has a fearsome bouncer, bowled at lightning speed. In 115 T20s, he has taken 146 wickets, at an economy rate of 7.66.
Archer will be the key bowler for England at the 2021 World T20 and for Rajasthan Royals at the IPL this season. His partnership with Chris Morris for RR and Sam Curran for England could decide the fate of both teams.
Jofra Archer is number two on our list of “Best death bowlers in T20 cricket.”
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1. Jasprit Bumrah
In first place is “Boom Boom.” Jasprit Bumrah is comfortably the best death bowler in the world in T20 cricket. He has simply been superb in T20 cricket. His performances versus England in the 2017 T20I series helped the hosts to a 2-1 victory, despite losing the first game.
Since then, he has gone on to be a death bowler of the highest quality. Bumrah is armed with all the skills required, including a brilliant slower ball that dips on the batsmen at the last second. However, it is his strange arm action that makes it very hard for batsmen to attack him at the death.
The angle at which the ball is coming is not easy to pick up, given that he goes slightly “beyond the perpendicular.” This sometimes lures batsmen into thinking that the ball is coming in but it often decks away late to result in the perfect outswinging yorker.
Along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Bumrah is likely to form a fantastic death-bowling partnership and if both are on form, they could fire India to their second World T20 title. Plus, Mumbai Indians will be vying for their third consecutive IPL title in 2021, with Bumrah’s bowling at the heart of their success.
Jasprit Bumrah is number one on our list of “Best death bowlers in T20 cricket.”
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