Indian Premier League

Bravo! Rabada ramps up hunt for IPL record

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Kagiso Rabada (Getty)
Kagiso Rabada (Getty)
  • Rabada goes into battle with Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday, with four to six games left to challenge Bravo’s landmark.
  • He also only seeks six further wickets to become the most productive SA bowler in a single IPL tournament. 
  • The Proteas spearhead recently became fastest to 50 wickets in the competition’s history (27th outing).

The goal is becoming increasingly realistic: Kagiso Rabada resumes on Saturday his quest to become the top all-time wicket-taker for a single season in the Indian Premier League.

South Africa's champion fast bowler currently stands on a 2020 tournament-leading 21 scalps, having played all 10 matches for the high-riding Delhi Capitals thus far.

He has a five-wicket cushion over nearest challenger Mohammed Shami (16 for Kings XI Punjab) and returns to duty - unless he has an unlikely rotational rest or picks up a sudden injury - when the Capitals play the Kolkata Knight Riders in Abu Dhabi on Saturday (12:00 SA time).

Considering that he has not yet gone wicketless in a single outing at the UAE-staged event, there will be every expectation that he gets busy again in that respect.

Further strikes against the Knight Riders would take him tantalisingly closer to Dwayne Bravo, the West Indian who holds the landmark for best tally of wickets in a single IPL: 32 in the 2013 tournament for Chennai Super Kings.

Next, with 28 each, are Lasith Malinga (Mumbai Indians, 2011) and James Faulkner (Rajasthan Royals, 2013).

If he stays a regular presence in the Capitals’ line-up, Rabada has four remaining round-robin matches in total (after this weekend’s tussle, they’re against Sunrisers Hyderabad on 27 October, Mumbai Indians on 31 October and Royal Challengers Bangalore on 2 November) plus possibly two knockout fixtures to get to or eclipse Bravo’s milestone.

He is averaging a fraction over two wickets a game, so simply staying at that level for six further matches, if the Capitals can stretch it that far, would take him to around 33 wickets - enough to establish a glittering new IPL landmark.

The 25-year-old boasts a best analysis at IPL 2020 of 4/24 against RCB.

Even more realistic for Rabada than his pursuit of Bravo’s record is his prospect of becoming the top South African wicket-taker in a single IPL.

That landmark is held by the Proteas' Pakistan-born leg-spinner Imran Tahir, who took 26 for Chennai Super Kings in the 2019 campaign, yet almost unbelievably has not yet played a match in the follow-up edition.

In joint-second with 25 are Rabada himself (last year's IPL, from 12 outings) and Morne Morkel (Delhi Daredevils, 2012).

The Johannesburg-born strike bowler is already averaging better than he did last year (currently 14.33, compared with 14.72 then) and also sports a superior economy rate (7.58, versus 7.82).

Recently he earned another distinction in being the fastest bowler to 50 wickets in the IPL, from 27 matches, five fewer than prior record-holder Sunil Narine.

Rabada got there by dismissing his former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis, of CSK, for 58 last Saturday.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

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