Almost a week into the cricket world cup 2019, one cannot help but think that this world cup will see bowlers dominating the trajectory of the tournament in view of the fact that traditionally pitches in England have been green and seam-friendly. In fact in the 7 games that have been played so far, in four games the highest score achieved by the batting side first is 207 which was achieved by Afghanistan against Australia. Even as the pitches ease up as the tournament progresses, many matches will be decided by how well captain’s utilize and harness their bowlers in potentially high scoring games. Some of the bowlers to watch out for this tournament are Jasprit Bumrah, Rashid Khan, Pat Cummins, Kagiso Rabada and Jofra Archer.
Jasprit Bumrah: Jasprit Bumrah is currently ranked the number 1 bowler in
ODIs and he has made the spot his own for quite some time and has been
spearheading India’s pace attack in all three forms of the game. To quote Bharat Arun, Bumrah’s unique action which batsmen have unable to completely read has been his trump card in getting the better of his opponents. A unique action coupled with a consistent pace of between 140–145 Kmph has made it difficult for many batsmen to score quickly off Bumrah. One of the remarkable aspects of his bowling has been his bowling in the death overs and his uncanny ability to bowl yorkers with precision like accuracy. To put things into perspective, since the last world in 2015 India’s economy rate from overs 41–50 has been around 6.86, which has been only bettered by Afghanistan’s 6.25. A large part of the success in containing oppositions can be attributed to Bumrah who has taken 44 wickets in overs 41–50 and has been very miserly with his economy of 5.76 — such an economy rate is gold dust for any captain considering the fact that
batsmen have increased in recent times dominated the game of cricket due to a variety of reasons.
Rashid Khan: Rashid Khan is one of the youngest cricketers to play in this world cup. Ever since his debut in the Indian Premier League in 2017, Khan’s meteoric rise in international cricket provides the much-needed underdog saga that reminds viewers of a rag to riches story of a young boy from a war-torn country that is still in the process of rebuilding itself. This young wrist spinner has been consistently performing well for Afghanistan in all formats of the game. What makes him more dangerous is his quick action coupled with a decent pace that makes it difficult for the batsman to dominate over him and score quick runs off him. Khan is a thinking wily customer who has quite a few variations in his arsenal that keep batsmen thinking. He has the uncanny knack of bowling so many different types of deliveries like leg breaks, googlies, flippers, etc with practically no change in his action which makes reading him that more difficult. With 125 wickets in 59 ODIs at an economy of 3.90, Rashid Khan is definitely going to give viewers their money’s worth in the contest between bat and ball this world cup.
Pat Cummins: At 6’4 spearheading the Aussie pace attack this English summer is Pat Cummins. In fact, Australia’s recent resurgence in the one-day arena can be attributed in no small measure to Pat Cummins recent form with the ball. His ability to hit the deck and bounce out his opponents that is well known was on display in the recently concluded series against India where Australia managed to beat India 3–2 after being 2–0 down in the series. Cummins’ bowling brings the much needed hostile aggression that is needed to make the opposition circumspect about how to take him on during the power plays. With 17 wickets in his last 5 ODIs form is definitely on Cummins’ side as he will be leading the likes of Starc, Coulter Nile and Jhye Richardson in their title defense this world cup.
Kagiso Rabada: South Africa’s search for a maiden World Cup title victory will rest on the young shoulders of Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn. Rabada along with Dale Steyn will be key to South Africa’s equations because this combination is the right mix of youth, experience, and pace that would intimidate any opposing team. Ever since his test debut against India in the November of 2015, Rabada has consistently and continuously risen through the ranks and has impressed many with his fluid action pace, bounce and ability to swing the ball both ways. Since Rabada has remained in the top five highest wicket-takers in tests in each calendar year with an improvement every year that is from the fifth position in 2016 to the second position in 2017 and to numero uno in 2018. With 106 wickets in 66 games since his debut at a healthy economy of 4.98 , Rabada will be a potent weapon that Du Plessis can bank on to make early inroads that will definitely put some brakes on the briskness of scoring that is expected in this world cup. A key factor in his effectiveness is that on top of his physical attributes and skill set, Rabada appears to be an intelligent bowler, who exploits the full range of options available to him. This attribute of his is very likely to yield dividends for South Africa as the tournament gets underway.
Jofra Archer: Capable of bowling in excess of 145 kmph, Archer has been selected in England’s World Cup squad after playing only three one-day internationals. Archer has had a great run playing in T20 leagues all across the globe and he has impressed all with not just his pace but also his agility in the field. According to his teammates, Archer brings in the ‘X-factor’ which was much on display during his outing with Ireland and against Pakistan. He was noticed for his clinical performance with Hobart Hurricanes in the Big bash 2017–18 which got him noticed and picked for IPL in 2018. Ordinarily, Archer would have been eligible to play for England, not before 2022, but such has been his impact the ECB relaxed the rules, mostly in a bid to get Archer into the mix for the World Cup to further strengthen their bid for their maiden title.