As the sporting world takes a break in the middle of a global pandemic, sports lovers are finding other ways to pursue their passion; reliving classic matches, hypothesising about makeshift season details and constructing hypothetical line-ups.
There’s an old saying in cricket that batsmen win you games while bowlers win you tournaments.
We are almost at the business end of the 2019 IPL season and there have been some impeccable performances by world-class bowlers. These are the best five.
No.1 – Alzarri Joseph, 6-12 vs Sunrisers Hyderabad
It is not every day that we witness such a complete show on a player’s debut.
Alzarri Joseph – called in for the injured Adam Milne – was able to hit the ground running from the get-go.
Joseph breathed down the neck of the Hyderabad’s batters with his pace and short stuff. The lanky fast bowler not only helped his side to win by a mammoth margin of 40 runs, but he also scalped the best bowling figures in IPL history.
The Antigua-born 22-year-old shattered the 11-year record of Sohail Tanvir, who snared 6-14 against three-time champions Chennai Super Kings.
No.2 – Jasprit Bumrah, 3-20 vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
Mumbai Indians fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah is a nightmare for the batsmen.
Bumrah never misses his mark and hits the block hole meticulously.
Bumrah was once again right on the money against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the seventh match of the season when he took three wickets and conceded only 20 runs in his four overs – including the big wicket of Virat Kohli.
Mumbai Indians won that match by a small margin of six runs and Bumrah’s spell played a big part in their win.
No.3 – Kagiso Rabada, 1-7 in the super over vs Kolkata Knight Riders
It is not often the case when a bowler is remembered for his one over.
But a T20 game can turn on its head in a matter of deliveries.
Rabada’s super over against KKR was a great exhibition of death bowling.
Eleven runs were required and Andre Russell – who had struck a 28-ball 62 earlier in the innings – was on strike.
Despite conceding a first-ball boundary, Rabada didn’t veer away from the plan, which was to bowl yorkers to the big man.
The second ball was a dot and on the third, Russell’s stumps were decimated.
The fiery pacer gave away only seven runs in the super over, helping his side add two points to their bag after the batsmen had once again thrown away a shoo-in position.
Earlier in the match, Rabada had scalped one wicket and have given away 41 runs in his four overs.
No.4 – Shreyas Gopal, 3-12 vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
The spinners have always played an important role in the IPL.
Shreyas Gopal was at his best in the 14th match of the season against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Both teams were seeking their maiden win of the season and Gopal came up with a fine show.
The leg-spinner bamboozled Virat Kohli with a googly and found the gulf between his bat and pad to hit the timber.
AB de Villiers then played too early to another wrong’un and gave a simple caught-and-bowled to Gopal.
The leg spinner also scalped the wicket of Shimron Hetmyer. The Karnataka spinner snared three wickets and bowled a economical spell of 3-12.
No.5 – Imran Tahir, 4-27 vs Kolkata Knight Riders
Chennai Super Kings leg-spinner Imran Tahir is getting better with age, starring in the 29th match of the season.
The veteran leg-spinner got the big wickets in Nitish Rana, Robin Uthappa, a settled Chris Lynn who had scored 82, and danger man Andre Russell.
Tahir also got help from his fielders as South African skipper Faf du Plessis gulped a fine catch while running in from the long-off position.