A fast bowler, not fast-medium or medium-fast but someone who can crank it up and send the ball at high pace towards the batsman at any stage of the innings, at any length he wishes to, is a rare commodity and therefore much in demand. This was evident when Kolkata Knight Riders shelled out their purse for Pat Cummins in the auction, and for the same reason RCB fans were most upset about Mitchell Starc pulling out of the auction; although he could have been bought by any of the other seven teams as well.
Fast bowling – clocking over 140 and high 150s consistently is tough, and probably, the most demanding role in cricket. Disciplined fitness regime, enormous strength, rigorous training all goes into the making of a fast bowler to be consistently bowling at a high pace.
Note: The speeds are taken from iplt20.com and are from the 2012 season.
With the IPL not even a month away, let’s see the bowlers who have bowled the fastest deliveries in the tournament’s history.
5. Kagiso Rabada- 153.50 Kph
Kagiso Rabada had a breakthrough IPL season last year where he finally got recognition to be considered in the elite group of bowlers. Playing for Delhi Capitals, Rabada picked up 25 wickets in 12 games.
Rabada averaged a brilliant 14.72, with a superb strike rate of 11.28, and a parsimonious economy- by the standard of batting these days- of 7.82. The South African pacer is also one of the fastest bowlers in world cricket.
Last season he hurled down plenty of deliveries which clocked the 150 Kph barrier. One of those recorded at 153.50 Kph, which is now the fifth fastest delivery in the IPL, since 2012. This was the third fastest delivery last season.
4. Pat Cummins- 153.56 Kph
In any list of the fastest bowlers, an Aussie will invariably make into it. Australian pacer, Pat Cummins is at the fourth spot in this listing. Cummins, in 2017, playing for Delhi Daredevils then, now Delhi Capitals, propelled a delivery which recorded 153.56 Kph on the speedometer.
Cummins picked up 15 wickets in 12 matches for Delhi at an average of 24 and an economy of 8.07. The right-arm pacer will return to IPL after two years. Kolkata Knight Riders picked him in the auction for a record-breaking 15.5 crore INR, making him costliest overseas player in the IPL’s history.
The 27-year-old sits at the top of ICC Test bowlers ranking and has also made a return to Australia’s T20 team last year. The Sydney born pacer will be rearing to go in the IPL, even on the spin-friendly tracks in the UAE, in a bid to justify his heavy price tag.
3. Kagiso Rabada- 153.91 Kph
Once again, the South African pacer makes his way into this list. Rabada was heavily instrumental for Delhi as they made into the top four, for the first time since 2012.
Although Delhi lost to Chennai in the qualifier two, the team consisting of several youngsters was impressive and was lauded for their efforts under the leadership of Shreyas Iyer and head coach Ricky Ponting.
The youngster from Johannesburg casted out a rocket at a speed of 153.91 kph, which is now the third-fastest delivery in the IPL since 2012. Rabada is sixth in ICC Test bowlers ranking and fifth in ODI ranking. The right-arm pacer has taken on the role of a bowling leader for the Protea, since the retirement of Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander.
2. Kagiso Rabada- 154.23 Kph
And there he is again, storming into the second spot for the fastest deliveries bowled in the IPL history. Rabada bowled the top four fastest balls in the 2019 edition. The fastest of them all was at the speed of 154.23 Kph.
He bowled a yorker to Andre Russell – who is an absolute beast with the bat in hand – and uprooted his middle stump from the ground, winning the super over for Delhi against Kolkata. That was an unforgettable sight for any cricket fan, and to put his pace generating phenomena in context, that delivery was at a speed of 147.3 Kph, substantially less than the fastest he bowled last season.
Rabada lost the purple cap to Imran Tahir, trailing by just one wicket even when he played 5 fewer matches than Tahir. On the slow tracks in the UAE, Delhi will hope for their lead paceman to produce such fiery balls and spells and take them to their maiden title.
1. Dale Steyn- 154.40 Kph
No surprises for who is at the top of this catalogue- arguably, the greatest fast bowler of his generation; Dale Steyn. With his intimidating run-up, hard-pressing action, and hostile deliveries, Steyn has castled, hurt and pegged back even the greatest of the batters. At his best– or rather not even at his best– Steyn is a nightmare for any batsman, at either end of the innings.
In the IPL 2012, when he was at his peak, he bowled a delivery at a speed of 154.40 Kph while playing for the now-defunct, Deccan Chargers. He bowled three of the top four fastest balls that season. The South African also bowled the fastest ball in 2014, playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Steyn was in menacing form as he scalped 18 wickets in the 2012 season, and 19 wickets in the 2013 season. The Protea pacer made a return to the IPL last season, after three years, and picked 4 wickets in 2 matches for Royal Challengers Bangalore, including the wicket of Suresh Raina which sent his off-stump for a ride. Steyn will be again seen in the RCB colours, and even in the twilight of his career, he will keep every batsman on its toes.