The purple cap is a symbolic award presented to the highest wicket-taker in a single season of IPL. Since the award’s introduction in 2008, only Dwayne Bravo has been able to win it twice. The economy is a big deal in T-20 cricket but a wicket-taking bowler is always essential if the team wants to make it to the playoffs. Last year, Kagiso Rabada took 30 wickets and came inches close to beating Bravo’s record tally of 32 in 2013. Let’s have a look at the 5 possible bowlers who could win in IPL 2021.
#5 Shardul Thakur
Thakur was, without doubt, the best bowler in the recently concluded white-ball games against England. He is usually used in the middle overs to break partnerships but has shown the ability to adapt to a wide range of situation.
Thakur can generate awkward bounce through his cross seamers and knuckleballs which can easily bemuse the batsmen. CSK will be relying heavily on him as he is one of the very few in the CSK squad to have played international games recently. He can also contribute handily with the bat and could be CSK’s most valuable player this season.
#4 Trent Boult
Boult has been a world-class bowler in the international arena for a long time but he had struggled in IPL before the 2020 edition. In the 2020 IPL, he showed his true class and the ability to pick wickets in clusters during the powerplay overs. Boult picked up 25 wickets last season and 16 of those came inside the first six overs. He also bowled at a decent economy of 7.97 and his new-ball pairing with Bumrah proved to be deadly for the opposition.
#3 Rashid Khan
Rashid is just third on this list simply because batsmen have stopped taking any kind of risk against him, even at the death. He still finds a way to pick up wickets as evident by his 20 wicket tally last season. His economy of 5.37 last season is the lowest for any player to have played at least 14 matches in a season.
It will be interesting to see where he bats for SRH this season as he is steadily cementing himself as an all-rounder. He was instrumental in Afghanistan’s victory over Ireland and Zimbabwe and will be itching to get going soon in the IPL.
#2 Jasprit Bumrah
Bumrah did not have a great start to 2020 as the Kiwi batsmen handled him easily and he could not assert his dominance on the game. The first few games of IPL worried the fans as he went for a lot of runs and looked a shadow of his old self. But fortunes changed as the tournament went on and Bumrah showed he is still a bowler to be feared. He picked up 27 wickets in the last edition, a career-best tally for him.
#1 Kagiso Rabada
Rabada’s bowling stats in the past two seasons are astounding as he has 55 wickets at an economy of just over 8. The number gets even bigger while considering the fact that he plays seven games each season in Delhi, a track tailor-made for spinners.
Rabada’s protea partnership with Nortje was feared by the opposition due to the ferocious pace at which they bowled. He will miss the opening match of the season but it is unlikely to affect his chances to grab the purple cap again. This season, Rabada will also be looking to address the criticism that he picks up more wickets in death overs than powerplays.