Our Enforcers

A team which can boast of quality international-level bowlers of all types will always be a contender for winning tournaments. This isn’t the case in just Twenty20 cricket: When we think about the mighty West Indian Test side of the 1970s and 1980s we picture super-fast bowlers steaming in and knocking over stumps for fun. The dominance that the Australian national team experienced in the recent was majorly due to the presence of world-class seamers, backed up by a once-in-a-generation spinner.

Mumbai Indians can boast of some extraordinary names in our current squad: Lasith Malinga, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell McClenaghan, Jasprit Bumrah, Mitchell Johnson, Tim Southee to name but a few. In Lasith Malinga, we have the leading wicket-taker in the IPL. Slinga Malinga registered yet another milestone this season, becoming the first ever bowler to reach 150 IPL wickets! Let’s have a quick look to see who the top-5 highest wicket-takers in the IPL are: -

Player IPL Wickets
Lasith Malinga 152
Amit Mishra 134
Harbhajan Singh 127
Piyush Chawla 123
Dwayne Bravo 122

Yes, we don’t just have the leading wicket-taker in the IPL, we have the no. 3 as well in the form of Harbhajan Singh. Speaking of Bhajji, his role has been to dry up opponents’ scoring and he’s done his job to perfection. In fact, amongst bowlers who have bowled at least 20 overs in this IPL, Harbhajan Singh’s economy rate is a phenomenal 6.48, the second-best: -

Player Team Best Econ. rates*
Pawan Negi Royal Challengers Bangalore 6.12
Harbhajan Singh Mumbai Indians 6.48
Rashid Khan Sunrisers Hyderabad 6.67
Andrew Tye Gujarat Lions 6.71
Krunal Pandya Mumbai Indians 6.72

* Min. 20 overs bowled this season

Harbhajan has been so economical this season, that he’s only conceded more than 30 runs in his spell once: In that match against Kings XI Punjab when a flat pitch meant virtually all bowlers went for plenty. Speaking of Krunal, he’s bucked the trend of left-arm orthodox bowlers not being effective against southpaws. In fact, Krunal has a bowling average of just 9.50 against southpaws in this IPL, amongst the best in the tournament. Another left-armer, Mitchell McClenaghan, has been making waves in this tournament. Currently the joint-third highest wicket-taker, McClenaghan has been a veritable tour de force for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2017: -

Player Team Wickets
Bhuvneshwar Kumar Sunrisers Hyderabad 25
Jaydev Unadkat Rising Pune Supergiant 21
Mitchell McClenaghan Mumbai Indians 18
Imran Tahir Rising Pune Supergiant 18
Rashid Khan Sunrisers Hyderabad 17

His ability to strike upfront with the new ball is priceless. The Mumbai Indians spearhead has taken 9 wickets in the first 6 overs of matches, joint-most with Kings XI Punjab’s Sandeep Sharma. It’s thus no wonder our lads have taken the most wickets in the first six overs of the match, as evidenced from this table: -

Team Wickets*(First 6 overs)
Mumbai Indians 24
Delhi Daredevils 20
Rising Pune Supergiant 20
Royal Challengers Bangalore 20
Sunrisers Hyderabad 19
Gujarat Lions 17
Kings XI Punjab 17
Kolkata Knight Riders 16

* These are wickets credited to bowlers, thus excludes run-outs

Additionally, of McClenaghan’s 9 wickets in the first six over of matches this season, 5 have come at the Wankhede: That’s 50% of Mumbai’s wickets in this phase of the match at this venue! And to top it all, he passed the milestone of his 50th IPL wicket this season and was amongst the fastest to do so in the history of this league!

Experts the world over agree that bowlers are at their most effective when they hunt as a pack, or in partnerships (i.e. in tandem). The Mumbai Indians are fortunate to have the services of Jasprit Bumrah in this regard, who has been absolutely magnificent in general. The sight of zing-bails lighting up whilst stumps are flattened is a common sight when this speedster operates: -

Player Team Most wickets (Bowled)
Imran Tahir Rising Pune Supergiant 8
Jasprit Bumrah Mumbai Indians 7
Rashid Khan Sunrisers Hyderabad 7
Bhuvneshwar Kumar Sunrisers Hyderabad 6
Patrick Cummins Delhi Daredevils 5

It should come as little surprise, given his trademark yorker, honed through years of practice. However, it’s not just Bumrah’s ability to blast out batsmen that makes him one of the most lethal bowlers around, it’s also his amazing knack of bowling the right ball at the right time. This was in full evidence in our match against the Gujarat Lions, when he came on to bowl the Super Over. After a start which included a no-ball and a wide, Bumrah was left defending 9 runs off 5 balls with Brendon McCullum and Aaron Finch at the crease. The next 3 balls yielded no runs off the bat as Bumrah bowled two successive slower balls that dipped under the batsman’s bat followed by a fast yorker outside off stump. Bumrah rounded off a spellbinding over by conceding just a brace of singles off the final two balls to ensure we managed to win our first ever Super Over. Both Jasprit Bumrah and Mitchell McClenaghan have been superb at bowling dots at the death, as evidenced by the following table: -

Player Team Most dot balls(at the death)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar Sunrisers Hyderabad 47
Jaydev Unadkat Rising Pune Supergiant 42
Mitchell McClenaghan Mumbai Indians 37
Jasprit Bumrah Mumbai Indians 34
Patrick Cummins Delhi Daredevils 31

Another incident stands out: Rohit Sharma has used Jasprit Bumrah predominantly at the latter stages of the innings, but was forced to draft him in early when the rampant Kings XI Punjab were making hay on a flat surface at the Wankhede. In an innings where Kings XI Punjab went at 11-and-a-half runs an over, Jasprit Bumrah bowled his heart out and claimed figures of 1/24 in four overs, which works out to an economy rate of just 6 runs-an-over.

Credit must go to Shane Bond and the rest of the support staff for ensuring our bowlers have been up-to-the-mark pretty much throughout the entire tournament. Given that our batting is in safe hands, the fans can be rest assured that our bowlers are in the best of care too. They’ll no doubt be fit and firing for the clash against the Rising Pune Supergiant at the Wankhede on Tuesday!

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