Exclusive: Bumrah’s hard length and Boult’s swing a lethal combination, writes Ramiz Raja
Both can go through the gears from offence to defence and are temperamentally strong
Deep into the IPL, we are awaiting our 'Fab Four'. It's been a marathon and teams are now cutting to the last 100 metres stretch. Some are wobbling while others are more assured. The strong bowling sides are generally better placed at the tape.
Keeping combinations for situations and oppositions in mind, teams have planned their run at the IPL. Mumbai Indians are a great example of it. Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult pose massive challenges to the batsmen. It can't be easy to manage hard length and then be equally ready to face pitched up left-arm swing angles. Both can go through the gears from offence to defence and are temperamentally strong.
Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar are a spin puzzle for most, one has a "submarine delivery" up his sleeve, which is a low bounced ball bowled with a round arm and a collapsed front leg, whilst the other demands you to pick his bouncy top spinners and googlies off his hand.
The Delhi Capitals seem to sing from the same hymn sheet of Mumbai Indians. Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje are the quickest pace pair who have livened up the speed gun competition. Whilst Rabada is the thinker, Nortje is the executioner. Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin are their spin pairing with vast skills. Axar is good under pressure and Ashwin takes care of opponents through a neat sleight of hand!
Mumbai Indians seem to have a quick riposte to shut down any tough bully. Its batting pairing is impressive too. Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock at the top punish different lengths, making it tough for a bowler to adjust length repeatedly in an over. Hardik and Pollard can launch an assault at the death and take the initiative away in a matter of a few balls. Throw in a rebel with a cause like an Ishan Kishan or a Lone Ranger like a Suryakumar Yadav and you have the makings of an epic!
DC too have chargers at the top in Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw. Laced with grace and power, there is Shreyas Iyer and Shimron Hetmyer in the middle order, X factor in Rishabh Pant and a "Pollard" in Marcus Stoinis make them a real deal this year.
The brain trust has been smart enough to look at a host of unexpected tough situations and then pick pairs to counter them. Think it's a winning template.