» Cricket » The Fast Five of the T20 World Cup 2022

The Fast Five of the T20 World Cup 2022

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Cicero Silva
October 20, 2022 17:46 IST
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Pakistan bowler Wahab Riaz celebrates the wicket

IMAGE: Pakistan's Wahab Riaz set the pace at the 2015 ODI WC. Photograph: ANI Photo

Wahab Riaz's extraordinary over to Shane Watson at the Adelaide Oval during the 2015 ODI World Cup, will forever remain etched in the memory of those who were fortunate to witness raw aggression at its best.

The famous punch line “Pace is Pace, Yaar” was born after Wahab's over and its loose English translation would mean, real pace is the real deal.

As we move towards the main round of the T20 World Cup at the business end of the Australian winter, pace will rule the roost although, on slightly slower tracks, fuller lengths will be equally important.


While spinners are expected to play a key role on the Australian tracks despite the soggy weather, those with scary pace will provide an x-factor as there would still be enough bounce.

The PTI looks at five bowlers, who have the ability to make a difference for their respective teams.

With no Jasprit Bumrah in the Indian line-up, the ‘Men In Blue' are missing a trick. And despite Mohammed Shami's brilliance in the warm-up game against Australia on the other day in Brisbane, the bowling unit doesn't inspire much confidence.

Hence in the list, there are no Indian bowlers although their ability is unquestionable and on their day, they could certainly get the best out.

Shaheen Shah Afridi (Pakistan)

Saheen Afridi
IMAGE: Pakistan's Shaheen Afridi is back with a bang and ready to make impact. Photograph: ICC Twitter

He is the ‘Crown Prince' of the cricket world's speed merchants. He is coming back from a serious knee injury but the manner in which he got Afghanistan's flashy opener Rahmanullah Gurbaaz, leg before showed that he has picked up from where he left before his injury. There was literally no rustiness as the yorker landed flush on the left toe of Gurbaz, who couldn't even bring his bat down.

Irfan Pathan would always tell anyone who would like to listen that if a left-arm seamer is getting the back into the right-hander, it's bad news for the batter.

Shaheen had finished the last World T20 contest against India in his very first spell. There will be pace and at that pace, he will get to swing the ball. India have three right-handers in the top three and all are world-class players. But even then, Shaheen will start the contest as the favourite to win the battle.

Josh Hazlewood (Australia)

 Josh Hazlewood

IMAGE: Hazlewood's 4-wicket haul count is phenomenal. Photograph: ANI Photo

Josh Hazlewood is the unsung hero of this Australian cricket team. While Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc are bonafide stars in their own rights, Hazlewood's discipline gives Aaron Finch's team the cutting edge that separates them from the pack. He may not be as fast as his contemporaries but deceptively quick enough to create trouble.

Also hitting the immaculate Test match length and probing batters on that off-stump channel with a touch extra bounce and just enough lateral movement, Hazlewood is any batter's nightmare. An economy rate of 7.62 in the 37 games in the slam-bang version is more than good but more importantly, 53 wickets with four four-wicket hauls is phenomenal.

Lockie Ferguson (New Zealand)

Lockie Ferguson

IMAGE: Lockie Ferguson has the whole package in variations. Photograph: Getty Images

He is one bowler who is perhaps born to play T20 cricket. He has everything, copious amounts of sustained aggression, extreme pace and enough variations to be effective on any surface. He has fast low, full-toss and one needs extreme explosive power to get under that ball and tonk it over. Eight out of 10 times, the batter won't be able to get away as the extra pace does the trick. His yorker is mean and Ferguson bowls a pretty lethal bouncer too.

In fact, he has variations in his short balls and if need be, he uses slow cutters to good effect. An economy rate of 6.84 in 21 T20Is is absolutely brilliant. One of his strengths is adaptability and one saw that during the Gujarat Titans' IPL triumph in which he played a major role on the flat decks across Indian centres.

Mark Wood (England)

Mark Wood

IMAGE: Mark Wood is raring to go after nearly touching 100 miles per hour. Photograph: Matt King/Getty Images

Just one little piece of information is enough to send shivers down any batter's spine. Less than a month ago, Mark Wood clocked 156 km/h (nearly 97 miles per hour) on a placid deck, at the National Stadium in Karachi. When he bowls, there would be batters, who would be happy to survive without a broken bone.

If any pace bowler in world cricket other than Bumrah can take the pitch out of the equation, it is Wood. His pace is frightening as experienced by Haider Ali, who fended awkwardly in that game trying to avoid a broken nose when a sharp bouncer climbed up on him viciously.

If the flip side to Wood's pace is his high economy rate (above 8.37), the positive side is his strike rate of getting wickets every 14 deliveries. While a ramp shot off his bowling can go for six but Wood will always keep the third man in business.

For some other bowlers, it might fall short but in the case of Wood, there would always be a chance of a catch on the boundary ropes. England skipper Jos Buttler, won't mind him conceding 35 to 38 runs in his quota of overs, as long as Wood gets him two top-order wickets per game.

Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)

Rashid Khan

IMAGE:Afghanistan's Rashid Khan is a one man army. Photograph: ICC/Twitter

By the time Rashid Khan is done with his career, he will break all the T20 bowling records, whether in franchise cricket in which he is one of the ‘MVP's or international cricket for Afghanistan. That he has played for 20-plus teams in the shortest formats (T20 and T10) shows, how desperately teams want him.

The 118 wickets that he has taken from 71 games, at an economy rate of less than 6.5, is mind-boggling. While many teams are trying to play him as an off-spinner, letting his stock delivery come in, the crafty Afghan of late has varied his pace a lot. He is consciously at times trying to be slower through the air and lets the ball hang and then dip on occasion.

Rashid played for new franchise Gujarat Titans this season and despite batters trying to play his quota of overs out, he still managed 19 wickets.

At the national level, at times, the inexperience of his bowling unit does take a toll on Rashid but he is still Afghanistan's ‘One Man Army' destined for greatness.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Cicero Silva© Copyright 2023 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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