This year will be the most competitive year of all the IPL seasons. It might sound like a cliche, but that’s the ground reality. The teams have become extremely smart in using the advanced technologies more than ever and the match-ups like which bowler to use at which point in time have all been looked at very closely now.
With the wickets in UAE being favourable to the bowlers, it will all boil down to who makes better use of the conditions that are on offer. Each team have well-equipped bowlers who have the skillset to rattle the batsmen in these conditions. Let us try to predict the highest wicket-taker from each franchise in IPL 2020.
This man needs no introduction. He will be hungrier than ever to prove his worth as his numbers post-injury has been poor, to say the least. Jasprit Bumrah was the leading wicket-taker for Mumbai Indians in the previous edition and in all likelihood, he would well be their leading wicket-taker for this season as well.
One added responsibility that Jasprit Bumrah will have in this edition is that he won’t be bowling in the company of the veteran Lasith Malinga who pulled out of the tournament due to personal issues. Hence, Jasprit Bumrah will have to be that spearhead along with either of Trent Boult or Nathan Coulter Nile who both are able bowlers but nowhere near to the class and experience of Lasith Malinga. Jasprit Bumrah boasts an ER of 7.99 at death in the last 3 years of IPL which is just unbelievable.
Though teams have always looked to play him out and target other bowlers in the team, Jasprit Bumrah took 19 wickets in the previous season. This season, one can expect that extra yard from him to overcome the even year syndrome by the defending champions.
The very fact that they went for Piyush Chawla at any cost in this year’s auction table knowing that they would be getting the services of Lungi Ngidi didn’t do any good for Imran Tahir's place in the playing XI. With Suresh Raina opting out of the tournament, MS Dhoni would want to play 2 specialist overseas batsmen and that would be curtains for Imran Tahir who may not get the opportunities to play all the 14 games for this season.
This opens the door for Deepak Chahar to end as the leading wicket-taker for the season for CSK. The talented medium-fast bowler was the 2nd leading wicket-taker for CSK in the 2019 edition with 22 wickets with Tahir being the first with 26 wickets.
This season, Imran Tahir might not get consistent opportunities to play all the 14 games and this can just be the right moment for Deepak Chahar to grab the honours.
Delhi Capitals- Kagiso Rabada
The tearaway quick from South Africa will once again be that enforcer in the bowling department for DC. He is a top-tier all-round bowler and he was one of the main reasons for DC's dramatic turnaround in the previous year where they reached playoffs. He would have bagged the purple cap had he played the entire tournament. He finished the season with 25 wickets from just 12 games. He bowled just 47 overs to reach that tally.
The onus will once again be on him to carry that bowling attack on his shoulders and he will be hoping to do so for one more time. He has picked 19 wickets at the death in 2019 out of his 25 wickets which shows his ability to break the batsmen in slog overs. He is a real contender for purple cap, let alone being the highest wicket-taker for Delhi Capitals
Sun Risers Hyderabad- Bhuvneshwar Kumar
The fact that Bhuvneshwar Kumar is still relevant in the circuit even after having 2 poor years tells you the kind of reputation he has earned for himself. He is a canny customer and will be looking to get back to his beast mode in this year’s edition to stay relevant in the Indian national side as the competition is increasing with every passing day.
Although, he has enough competition in his own team as King Rashid Khan will be looking to prove his worth after having ordinary returns in the recently concluded CPL. There is the left-arm quick Khaleel Ahmed as well who took 19 wickets in just 9 games last year. So it will be a good competition within the team but Bhuvneshwar Kumar with all his experience might just end up as the leading wicket-taker for SRH in 2020.
Kolkata Knight Riders- Sunil Narine
The mystery spinner still has something in him to keep the batsmen at their toes. He is still a strong force with the ball and with conditions aiding him this season, one can expect a bare minimum of 20 wicket season for the man from the Caribbean.
Sunil Narine took only 10 wickets from 12 games in the previous edition of IPL but with the form he is in at the moment, he can really bring back his 2012 self where he wreck-havocked batsmen for fun. He was brilliant in the recently concluded CPL but the only hindrance for him will be to make himself injury-free throughout the course of the tournament. If he manages to stay injury-free, he can end up as the leading wicket-taker for his team.
Kings XI Punjab- Mohammad Shami
One of the integral part of the Indian bowling set-up across formats in Mohammad Shami is the pace spearhead for Punjab and no bowler apart from him really inspires confidence to finish as the leading wicket-taker for the team.
Mohammad Shami took 19 wickets in 2019 and was the 6th leading wicket-taker along with Jasprit Bumrah. One thing that Mohammad Shami would like to improve is his economy rate. He has a terrible economy rate both at death and in power-play which is not a captain would want from his strike bowler.
Rajasthan Royals- Shreyas Gopal
He should have made his debut for India by now but his case continues to be a mystery where Rahul Chahar who made his IPL debut in 2019 played for India but the Karnataka born has been made to wait even after bowling exceptionally in the last 2 years of IPL.
He has 31 wickets in the last 2 seasons of IPL and was the leading wicket-taker for Rajasthan Royals in 2019. He has improved leaps and bounds since then and one can expect a crackerjacker of a season from Shreyas Gopal this time as well. He has troubled all big names in this competition and will be hoping to continue to bamboozle the batsmen in 2020 as well.
Royal Challengers Bangalore- Yuzvendra Chahal
Another legit contender for the purple cap is Yuzvendra Chahal. He is known for his excellent variations and the fact that he has been successful after having played most of his career in Chinnaswamy which is a graveyard for bowlers speaks volumes about India's leading leggie.
He finished 2019 with 18 wickets and was the highest wicket-taker for RCB even with less support he managed to emerge successful for the franchise. He is surrounded by a strong core of bowlers in this season and his wickets column is only going to get better without any doubt.
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