ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022: Top five Fast Bowlers to watch out for in World T20 in Australia.
T20 cricket, the format, was supposed to be a batter's game with short boundaries, big bats and probably every rule in the cricketing books favouring the batter. However, the tides have changed in the recent past with the emergence of versatile, streaky bowlers who are able to outfox the batters within no time. With the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 almost on the horizon, and given the pitch conditions in Australia, the fast bowlers are expected to be licking their lips.
There are five such fast bowlers who can rattle past any opponent on a given day. Let us scan their performances and capabilities and see how they can wreak havoc on the opponents.
Mark Wood (England)
The opposition batters hear PACE when one utters the name, Mark Wood. Sheer, raw, unplayable pace. The 32-year-old England bowler has made his mark in the international circuit as a skiddy pace bowler with a long run-up, just like the old days, when a bowler would run a mile to bowl those absolute seeds. Mark Wood bowls his delivery at an average speed which is upwards of 145 kmph. At this pace, it is usually difficult for the bowlers to be accurate, but that is not the case with Wood.
The right-arm fast bowler has an average of 19.97 in T20I cricket and a scintillating strike rate of just 14.3 to back it up. That effectively means that Wood gets a wicket after every 14 deliveries in T20I cricket. Wood has 35 wickets in 22 innings for England, with the best bowling figures of 3/9 against the West Indies in 2019.
Wood has played two T20I matches in Australia and has been experimental in picking four wickets in less than eight completed overs. With the T20 World Cup being played in Australia itself, he will relish the pace and bounce that the pitches down under offer and can be a scary customer for all the opposing batters.
Kagiso Rabada (South Africa)
Kagiso Rabada is yet another fiery and wild bowler who is already being considered as one of the best in the business in the fast-bowling set up. Born in Johannesburg, he is known for his street smart bowling in T20I cricket, rather than just sheer pace. Rabada is a bowler who uses his intellect to keep batters guessing. He makes effective use of slower deliveries and wide outside off yorkers, which has been the true essence of Rabada’s international and domestic T20 career.
The 25-year-old bowler has bowled so far in 49 innings for South Africa and has picked up 54 international wickets with a more than decent economy rate of 8.42, striking after every 19 deliveries.
Rabada has so far played for five domestic teams across the globe, where he has shone with 126 wickets in 85 innings. In T20 cricket where dot balls are like gold dust, Rabada has a dot ball percentage of 48.1 per cent in international T20Is. However, the South Africa pacer doesn’t have a great record bowling in Australia, where he has been punished at 9.13 runs per over, picking up just one wicket in three matches.
Be that as it may, death bowling is what separates Rabada from the rest of the lot. Not many thrive under the pressure of bowling death overs, but such is the thickness of Rabada’s skin. He has become a natural death over specialist with his ever so deceptive slower deliveries, wide yorkers, and sharp bouncers at pace, which make him a complete bowler and a potential threat in Australian conditions.
Haris Rauf (Pakistan)
Haris "bullet" Rauf, well, that is what Haris Rauf has been known for. Rauf bowls consistently at about 150 kmph and is probably the fastest bowler in the world right now, along with Mark Wood. The 28-year-old Pakistan bowler is an experienced campaigner when it comes to bowling on Australian pitches. Haris has bowled more deliveries in Australia than in his own country, owing to his Big Bash League (BBL) participation.
Even though Haris Rauf has played just one T20I international in Australia, his record with the Melbourne Stars has been nothing short of magic. Courtesy of that, Rauf has bowled more than 60 overs in T20 cricket on Australian soil, picking up 30 wickets at an astonishing economy of just 7.71 with a strike rate of 16.4. That means Rauf takes a wicket every three overs he bowled for the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League.
Amongst international fast bowlers, except for Australian bowlers, Rauf has the richest experience of bowling on Australian pitches in the recent past. Rauf’s ability to come down from 150 kmph to a 120 kmph slower ball with the same arm speed is something which is highly deceiving. Not just the slower ones, Rauf’s accuracy with the yorkers and stump-to-stump deliveries makes him the most exciting bowler to watch out for this summer down under.
Josh Hazlewood (Australia)
Josh "Accurate" Hazlewood has seen a drastic change in his persona as a T20 bowler ever since his stint with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Hazelwood, who was just considered as a Test match bowler for his accuracy, reshaped his career by adapting to the changing times. Not only did he change, but he became the best in the business by becoming the number 1 T20I bowler in the world as per the latest ICC rankings.
Josh Hazlewood is that one bowler that every bowling captain would love to have in his team for his accuracy. Hazlewood has bowled so far in 36 T20I matches for Australia, picking up 52 wickets at a miserly economy rate of 7.5. The Australia bowler strikes after every 15 deliveries in T20I cricket and has one of the best averages in T20I cricket among fast bowlers (19.63).
The tall Australian has a dot ball percentage of 50.2, which helps him build pressure and stop the flow of runs from one end. The right-armer can generate extra bounce, which can trouble batters on Australian pitches, and with his accuracy with the new ball, he will be one of the most challenging bowlers in T20 World Cup 2022.
Trent Boult (New Zealand)
Trent "Swinging" Boult, just like his last name, Trent bowls ‘thunderbolts’ with the ball. Such thunderous claps leave right-handed batters wondering whether the ball will swing into their pads or swing away from them. After being released from New Zealand’s central contract, this would be the first and probably the last major event that Boult would be featuring in New Zealand colours.
Trent Boult has bowled in 49 innings for New Zealand and has been the highest wicket-taker for them in the powerplays. Boult, who has an economy of 7.92, has picked a total of 66 wickets in his international career so far. Just like the other bowlers on our list of bowlers to watch out for, Boult too picks up a wicket every 17 deliveries.
Apart from T20 internationals, Boult has been an experienced campaigner who plays T20 cricket across the globe for many franchises, where he has picked up 107 wickets in 93 innings. Though Boult has played just one T20I in Australia, where he picked up two wickets, giving away just 14 runs, his experience of bowling with the new ball and swinging the ball both ways makes him probably the best new ball T20 bowler and no prizes if he goes on to be the best powerplay bowler of the tournament.
Apart from the above list of fast bowlers to watch out for, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the young guns like Naseem Shah, Arshdeep Singh and Lungisani Ngidi, along with the experienced boots of Mitchell Starc, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Lockie Ferguson and Mohammed Shami also come to the party to trouble the batters in the T20 World Cup down under.
The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 kicks off with the first game scheduled to be held on October 16 between Namibia and Sri Lanka in Geelong.
Let us know who your top five fast bowlers are to watch out for in the T20 World Cup 2022.