Death bowling is one of those skills that has become a much-needed specialisation in T20 cricket. With the increase in demand for death bowlers, the skill set has been on a gradual increase. Since most T20 games go down to the wire, the responsibilities and pressure on the death bowlers are immense. And how the bowlers execute their plans under this high pressure decides to a large extent the result of the match.

Here we take a deep dive into numbers and stats to analyze the best in the business with the ball in death overs.

[Only bowlers who have bowled in a minimum of 10 innings between overs 16-20 in IPL since 2016 have been considered]

Bowling Strike Rate:

Death bowlers in IPL
  • There have been 9 bowlers who take less than 10 balls for each dismissal, with Kuldeep Yadav being the lone spinner. Kagiso Rabada has the best strike rate (8.00), followed by Mohammed Shami (8.14) and Kuldeep Yadav (8.40).
  • Deepak Chahar, despite having an impressive strike rate (8.43, fourth-best), gets nearly 1 over per match in death overs.
  • Among bowlers who bowl more than 10 balls per innings, only Rabada has a strike rate below 10, while Jofra Archer has the worst strike rate (15.43)
  • 4 bowlers have picked 30 or more wickets; Bhuvneshwar Kumar (47), Jasprit Bumrah (45), Dwayne Bravo (32) and Jayev Unadkat (30)

Dot ball and Non-boundary ball Percentage:

Death bowling in IPL Dot ball percentage
  • Krunal Pandya (7.57), R Ashwin (7.77), Mustafizzur Rehman (7.87), and Deepak Chahar (7.93) are the only bowlers with an economy below 8.
  • 5 of the 10 bowlers with the best economy are spinners, most of whom bowl in the sixteenth or seventeenth overs.
  • Navdeep Saini has the highest dot ball percentage in death overs, but a comparatively lower non-boundary ball percentage.
  • Rashid Khan has been really difficult to get away with in the death overs, with more than one-third of his balls being dot balls and less than one-fifth of balls being hit for boundaries.

Impact Factor:

Impact Economy – An impact economy of +1 indicates the bowler concedes 1 run less than other bowlers in all the matches the particular bowler was involved in. The negative impact economy indicates the bowler has conceded more than the rest of the bowlers.

Impact Strike Rate – An impact strike rate of +1 indicates the bowler takes 1 delivery less than other bowlers to pick a wicket in all the matches the particular bowler was involved in. The negative impact strike rate indicates the bowler has taken more deliveries to dismiss a batsman than the rest of the bowlers.

Impact Average – An impact average of +1 indicates the bowler concedes 1 run less than other bowlers to pick a wicket in all the matches the particular bowler was involved in. The negative impact average indicates the bowler has conceded more runs to dismiss a batsman than the rest of the bowlers.

Impact Factor – Cumulative of Impact economy and Impact strike rate.

Death bowling in IPL
  • Spinners in the death overs; Narine, Jadeja, R Ashwin, Rashid Khan and Tahir, all have been on the economical side but not amongst the wickets. This is probably as they hardly bowl in the last three overs and batsmen look to play them out before launching the attack on the pacers.
  • In the limited opportunities he has got, Deepak Chahar has been a regular wicket taker and also has a positive impact economy, proving how important an asset he was for CSK in 2019.
  • The likes of Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Basil Thampi and Jaydev Unadkat have to be used better by their captains by minimising their overs at the death.
Death bowling in IPL
  • Navdeep Saini, despite having a 9-plus economy in death overs, concedes 2.5 runs less than rest of the bowlers in the games he is involved in.
  • Deepak Chahar takes nearly 9 balls less than other bowlers for each dismissal in death overs. He concedes almost 1 run less than all bowlers in the matches he has played, despite bowling all his overs from overs 18-20.
  • The likes of Shami and Rabada have been average in terms of economy, but take wickets quite frequently.
Death bowling in IPL
  • Deepak Chahar is miles ahead of anyone else who have frequently bowled in the last three overs. He is ahead of the second placed Mitchel Johnson by almost 5 points.
  • The more regular death bowlers like Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar and Malinga have a positive impact factor but not very far ahead of others as they are believed to be. (The performance in crunch games is not considered here, which is of course a major reason why they are regarded so highly)
  • Among bowlers who bowl more than 50% of their death over deliveries in last 3 overs, only Jaydev Unadkat has a negative impact factor, mostly due to his highly negative impact economy.
Death bowlers in IPL
  • Among the regular death bowlers, Malinga despite having a negative impact on economy, proves his worth with consistent wickets.
  • The likes of Archer and Mustafizur have been on the economical side, despite not being amongst wickets.
  • Tim Southee, Jaydev Unadkat and Trent Boult have been consistently shown faith upon by the management despite not been up to the mark in death overs.

The Crucial Three Overs:

True Economy, True Strike Rate and True Average – Difference in Economy, Strike Rate and Average between overall numbers excluding the player and the numbers for the player.

A positive True Economy/Strike Rate/Average indicates the player has performed better than average and the number quantifies the magnitude.

  • Among 20 bowlers who have bowled the most deliveries in the last 3 overs, Chris Morris concedes nearly 3 runs less than the average runs conceded in those overs. He has been one of those bowlers whose economy actually gets better in the end overs.
  • Umesh Yadav has been terrible at the death and leaked way too many runs. Quite clearly he has been over-utilized at the death, especially in the last 3 overs.
  • The like of Unadkat, Thakur and Bravo have also leaked runs more than average. And we have seen Dhoni minimising Bravo’s overs at the death in the last two years.
Death bowling in IPL
  • Chris Morris, Deepak Chahar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mohammed Shami, Lasith Malinga, Navdeep Saini and Kagiso Rabada have been quite impressive in the last 3 overs. Malinga’s numbers in overs get better in overs 18-20 as compared to overs 16-17, indicating how crucial a man he is under pressure.
  • The likes of Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur and Dwayne Bravo have been far from impressive in the last 3 overs.
  • Narine and Rashid have been economical, while Rabada, Perera, Shami have been amongst the wickets and have a scope to improve in economy.

The overall analysis gives a clear idea on how some bowlers need to be used better; some are under-utilised and some over-utilized in death overs. There are a few games where the players with negative impact in this analysis have turned out to be match-winners, but they certainly need to work on their consistency.