Malinga, Steyn or Bravo: Who is the Greatest Overseas Pacer in IPL?

Behind every successful team, there is a successful overseas fast bowler.” Most of the teams spend big bucks in the auction for a premium overseas fast bowler. Usually, this overseas fast bowler leads the pace attack. Considering these, let us now see who has been the most impactful overseas fast bowler for their side:

Let us start our comparison by seeing who is the top wicket-taker amongst the overseas fast bowlers. Lasith Malinga leads in the most wickets not only among the overseas pacers but also in the history of IPL. Second, comes in Dwayne Bravo, who has 153 scalps in his entire IPL career. Third, we have the ‘Steyn Gun’ with 97 scalps. 

There are three aspects by which we are going to compare these three players – excelling at the power play, middle overs and the death, essential for the team’s success and performance in crunch clashes.

Let’s get started!!!

Excelling at any the stage of the game (Powerplay, Middle overs and at the Death):

Steyn has been excellent with the ball during the powerplay getting the ball to swing and nip both ways with the new ball. It’s at this point of time, Steyn gets most of his wickets considering his ability to swing the ball both ways. Most captains give Steyn three overs on the trot with the new ball. Many times, Steyn has also been given the ball to bowl in the middle overs. He did pretty well though it mostly was just 1 over in this stage. When it comes at the death, Steyn has been taken to the cleaners by some big hitters. It’s because he doesn’t have the subtle variations like the off-cutter or the leg cutter and relies more on the swing. 

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While for Bravo, it’s pretty much the other way round. He has rarely been given the new ball due to his inability to swing the ball. Mostly Dhoni has used him at the start of 11th over or so, it’s because, at this point of time, the ball is old and will perfectly assist Bravo’s style of bowling. His subtle variations assist him at this point of time. At the death, Bravo has been the go-to man for the Chennai Super Kings. He absolutely nails the yorkers combined with slower balls which makes him deadly at the death. Although he may concede a lot of runs at times, he has been CSK’s wicket-taking bowler at the death overs.

For the highest wicket-taker in the IPL, Lasith Malinga, he has been quite sensational if given the ball at any point of time. With the new ball, Malinga has been nothing but amazing. Because of his unorthodox bowling action, the batsmen find it incredibly hard to pick Malinga. Due to his action, he gets to swing the ball a long way and hence has got a lot of wickets. At the middle overs too, Malinga mixes up his variations and tries to contain the flow of runs. What can we say about Malinga at the death? He has been a phenomenal bowler with a lot of variations and a toe crushing yorker in his armoury. Malinga’s overs at the death have contributed a lot to Mumbai Indians’ wins.

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And there it is, Malinga has got off to a great start with a point in his kitty. On the other hand, Steyn and Bravo have to catch up with him to square the score.

Malinga: 1, Steyn: 0, Bravo: 0

Essential for teams’ success:

Steyn has had a reasonably good time with Royal Challengers Bengaluru, but it was at the Deccan Chargers where he was at his very best. In the 2012 IPL, he was pretty much the lone warrior in the pace attack and the entire team relied on Steyn’s exceptional talent. Well, he did that time and time again in that season picking up 18 wickets and the 6th highest wicket-taker of the tournament. Unfortunately, his sensational bowling couldn’t help DC to qualify for the playoffs. But in the next year, he made SRH qualify for the playoffs picking up 19 wickets in that tournament.

Dale Steyn, who plays for Gujarat Lions franchise in the IPL, will not participate in the event which runs from April 5 to May 21. (Photo: BCCI)

Bravo has been almost CSK’s most valuable player, having won them a whole lot of matches. In the 2013 IPL, he guided CSK to the finals of the tournament with his sensational performances. Although CSK couldn’t win the final, he had won the Purple Cap in that season. A similar kind of performance was repeated in the 2015 season where he racked up 26 wickets in that season. Once again he went onto win the Purple Cap, but CSK lost in the final. In the 2018 IPL, Bravo picked up 14 wickets and helped CSK to win their third IPL trophy. 

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As for Malinga, he had won the Purple Cap in the 2011 season but couldn’t guide his team to glory as they got knocked out in the Qualifier-2. In the 2013 IPL, Malinga had taken 20 wickets but still wasn’t the top wicket-taker for them in that season. However, he redeemed himself with 24 wickets and ended up as the second-highest wicket-taker in that season and also guided MI to their second IPL trophy. At the 2019 IPL too, he picked up 16 wickets and was the second-highest wicket-taker for them in that season but he guided MI to fourth IPL trophy. 

However, Malinga had a lot of partners in crime in the pace department, while for Steyn and Bravo they were less as compared to Malinga. So you got to give it to Bravo for his exceptional bowling with less support.

Champion Bravo redeems himself in style and now is square with Lasith Malinga. While Steyn still has to get off the mark.

Malinga: 1, Bravo: 1, Steyn: 0

Performance in Crunch Clashes:

Steyn has played only in two playoff matches – one against MI in 2010 and one against RR in 2013. In both of the matches, the team which he played had lost. Against MI, he picked up two important wickets of Sachin Tendulkar and Ambati Rayudu but he was way expensive in that match. In the Eliminator against RR, he picked up the wicket of Samson and gave only 23 runs.

For Bravo, though, he has performed in a lot of crunch clashes quite exceptionally. Just remember when he sent Pollard back to the pavilion in the Eliminator match against MI in 2012. Bravo, however, was smashed in the final against KKR though he picked a wicket. Later in 2013, he redeemed himself once again against MI picking up 4 wickets. Once again, he was expensive in that match but any player would be happy taking 4 wickets. In 2015 final once again, Bravo picked up 2 wickets against the same opponent but with an economy of 9. In 2018 and 2019 finals, he couldn’t do much as he picked up only 1 wicket in 2018 final but was wicketless in 2019 final.

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Malinga excels when it comes to performing in important games. In 2013 final, he knocked over CSK’s best batsmen, Suresh Raina and Michael Hussey for a duck and 1 respectively. Malinga’s exceptional spell almost won the game for the Mumbai Indians in that match. In 2015 final too, he dismissed two important wickets of Dwayne Smith and captain MS Dhoni. In 2017 final, Malinga only gave 21 runs in his quota of 4 overs defending a target of 129. And in 2019 final, Malinga excelled bowling the last over of the match with CSK requiring only 9 runs in the last over.

He has done it!!!! Malinga wins the battle against Bravo and Steyn by 2-1-0. And Malinga once again delivers when the pressure is enormous.

Malinga: 2, Bravo: 1, Steyn: 0

Ladies and gentlemen, the most impactful bowler of the IPL goes to LASITH MALINGA. Bravo came incredibly close to him but eventually, it was Malinga who emerged triumphant. The man who saved MI from down and out situations, the man who almost defined MI’s pace attack, the man who gave emergence to a new young talent named Jasprit Bumrah and last but not the least the man with the most wickets in IPL history.

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Notable mentions: Morne Morkel, Jason Holder, Mitchell McClenaghan, Trent Boult, Chris Morris, James Faulkner and Kagiso Rabada

Featured Image: cskipl | Instagram

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