Best IPL death bowlers since 2016

Deepak Panda

Jasprit Bumrah is a top IPL death bowler.

T20 cricket is a format that depends a lot on how a team finishes their innings. Many a time, especially in the IPL, we have seen teams start slow by keeping wickets in hand for the death overs.

In IPL, usually teams like CSK, MI and KKR look to make the most of their death overs by slotting in their power hitters lower down the batting order. Death bowling has therefore become a specialisation, more so after the advent of T20 cricket.

The IPL is currently one of the most competitive T20 leagues in the world. Much of the credit for the level of cricket in the competition goes to the death bowlers as well as the batsmen batting in those overs.

With the increase in demand for death bowlers, the skill set for the same has been on a gradual increase. Here we take a deep dive into the numbers and statistics in the IPL to find out who have been the best exponents with the ball in the death overs.

(Only bowlers who have bowled in a minimum of 10 IPL innings between overs 16-20 since 2016 have been considered.)

The wicket-takers in IPL death overs

Bowling strike rates in the IPL in overs 16-20 since 2016

  • There have been nine bowlers who take less than ten balls per dismissal in the IPL, with Kuldeep Yadav being the lone spinner.
  • Kagiso Rabada has the best strike rate (8.00), followed by Mohammed Shami (8.14) and Kuldeep Yadav (8.40).
  • Despite having an impressive strike rate (8.43, fourth-best), Deepak Chahar gets nearly an over per match in the IPL death overs.
  • Among bowlers who have bowled more than ten balls per innings in the IPL, only Rabada has a strike rate below ten while Jofra Archer has the worst strike rate (15.43).
  • Bhuvneshwar Kumar (45) has the most wickets in death overs in the IPL since 2016.

The economical bowlers in the IPL death overs:

Strike-rate vs economy in IPL death overs since 2016 Dot-ball and non-boundary ball % in IPL death overs since 2016

  • Krunal Pandya (7.57), Ravichandran Ashwin (7.77), Mustafizzur Rehman (7.87) and Deepak Chahar (7.93) are the only IPL death bowlers with an economy rate of below eight.
  • Five of the ten bowlers with the best economy rate in IPL death overs are spinners, most of whom bowl in the sixteenth or seventeenth overs.
  • Deepak Chahar, Kagiso Rabada, Krunal Pandya, Navdeep Saini and Ravichandran Ashwin are some of the IPL death bowlers who have an impressive economy as well as an excellent strike rate.

The bowlers with the best dot-ball and non-boundary ball % in the IPL death overs:

Dot-ball and non-boundary ball % in IPL death overs since 2016

  • Navdeep Saini has the highest dot ball percentage in IPL death overs but a comparatively lower non-boundary ball percentage.
  • Rashid Khan, Ravindra Jadeja, Mustafizzur Rehman, Krunal Pandya and Deepak Chahar are tough to get away in the IPL death overs. More than one-third of their death over balls are dot balls; less than one-fifth of their balls in the death are hit for boundaries.

The overall numbers give a clear picture of how effective Kagiso Rabada has been in the IPL death overs.

Navdeep Saini is a bright prospect and can be a terrific death bowler if only he cuts down on boundary balls. Deepak Chahar, used in IPL death overs only in 2019 by MS Dhoni, can be used in the death phase more often as he is difficult to hit and provides breakthroughs on a consistent basis.

The likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Dwayne Bravo, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jofra Archer have a slightly higher economy rate as they bowl in the last two overs, which tend to get more expensive than the other three overs in the phase.