IPL Top Bowler: Keep Bumrah, Thakur and Natarajan onside  

IPL Top Bowler 2021
James Pacheco profile image

Betting Expert, James Pacheco

Last updated on 27th May 2021

Published: 07/04/2021

Categories: Cricket, Opinion, Predictions

If you’re a bowler at the IPL there are two awards you desperately want to win: the tournament as a whole and the IPL Top Bowler award, or Purple Cap. This is given to the bowler who takes the most wickets throughout the tournament.

Here’s what a top bowler looks like and who fits the criteria this time around. You’ll also find the best odds for IPL 2021 betting for this important award.

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Rabada: last year’s Purple Cap winner

Delhi Capitals paceman Kagiso Rabada won the Purple Cap last year. He took 30 wickets in 17 matches, which was the second-highest wicket-haul in an IPL season.

The only player to have trumped him was Dwayne Bravo, who took 32 wickets for CSK in 2013, albeit from 18 games rather than 17.

Rabada was the second South African winner in a row after Imran Tahir won it in 2019.

Then again, he was only the second South African winner full stop so there isn’t a trend suggesting players from the Proteas have an edge here.

IPL Top Bowler Past Winners

Here are all the Purple Cap winners going back to the very first IPL in 2008.

Year Player Mat Wickets Team
2008 Sohail Tanvir 11 22 RR
2009 R. P. Singh 16 23 DC
2010 Pragyan Ojha 16 21 DC
2011 Lasith Malinga 16 28 DC
2012 Morne Morkel 16 25 DC
2013 Dwayne Bravo 18 32 CSK
2014 Mohit Sharma 16 23 CSK
2015 Dwayne Bravo 16 26 CSK
2016 Bhuvneshwar Kumar 17 23 SRH
2017 Bhuvneshwar Kumar 14 26 SRH
2018 Andrew Tye 14 24 KXIP
2019 Imran Tahir 17 26 CSK
2020 Kagiso Rabada 17 30 DC

IPL Top Bowler conclusions

  • Pace, please: Tahir was the only spinner to have won it in the last five years and one of only two spinners to ever have won it. The other was Pragyan Ojha in 2010.
  • Plays for a side making the Playoffs: If we were to look at the 15 players who occupied the Top 3 over the last 15 years, only one of them didn’t play for a side making the Playoffs.

Hardly surprising. A regular season is made up of 14 matches but playing an extra one, two or three games can only boost your man’s chances no end.

Of course, we can’t be sure which teams will make the Playoffs but we can certainly guess. After all, Mumbai and Hyderabad are more likely to make the Playoffs than Rajasthan or the Punjab Kings.

Eliminating players to choose IPL 2021 Top Bowler

  1. All-Important Strike Rate In order to gatecrash the Top 3 you need to take an average of a wicket every 15 balls. But to win it needs to be closer to a wicket every 12 balls, which equates to taking an average of almost two wickets a game.
  2. Bowls his Four Overs In order to get close to those two wickets a game, you’re going to have to give yourself every chance. And that means always or almost always bowling your full four overs. All-rounders who only ever bowl two or three overs won’t get the job done.
  3. Overseas Players Regular Winners Interestingly, there have been eight overseas winners and five Indian ones. But that’s not really the point. The point is that cream rises to the top.

Bet on Bumrah for IPL Top Bowler

Best Odds: 9.0 with 10CRIC

The first player that catches our attention is Jasprit Bumrah. He is admittedly the 9.0 favourite with 10CRIC but as we often say here, he’s the favourite for a reason.

Jasprit Bumrah of Mumbai indians wearing a facemask. He's one of our choices for IPL Top Bowler for 2021

He was runner-up last season with 27 wickets, which would have been enough to win it in 10 of the 13 seasons. Bumrah was just a bit unlucky Rabada took that many.

His IPL strike rate of 19 is very good rather than exceptional but that’s because he had a very poor strike rate in the early years of his IPL career. Over the past four years it’s been 17, 19, 19 and 13.

He’s a pace bowler and he plays for the IPL favourites,  the Mumbai Indians. For good measure, he’s widely regarded as just about the best death bowler in T20 cricket.

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Natarajan & Thakur each-way for IPL Top Bowler

Best Odds: Natarajan each-way @ 21.0  with Betway

Best Odds: Thakur each-way @ 29.0 with Betway

Here’s a reminder of what an each-way bet is and how it works which we explained when discussing the IPL top batsman market.

In other words, each-way bets are a good option when the player you’re betting on is available at big odds and though actually winning will be very tough, they have a good chance of at least finishing Top 4.

Shardul Thakur of CSK is worth going with as an each-way bet. His IPL strike rate of 16.7 is a box ticked, as is the fact that he’s a pace death bowler and plays for a side who should make the Playoffs in CSK. He impressed recently for India against England so comes into the tournament in form.

Shardul Thakur celebrating while playing for CSK. He's a great choice to bet each-way for the 2021 Purple Hat award in the IPL

You could say many of the same things about T Natarajan of SRH. His strike rate was a little high last year but he’ll surely improve this time round. He was another who was good on international duty, plays for a strong side and has the advantage of bowling at the death, where wickets fall more than in the middle-overs.

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South African players worth considering

Last year’s winner Rabada is 7.5. Not only is that slightly short but we know Rabada is going to miss at least the first match of the tournament, which could make a big difference.  As is his team-mate Anrich Nortje (13.0), who was also excellent last season, but may not play every game this time around with competition for overseas places very tough at Delhi.

Lungi Ngdid @ HUGE Odds!

Huge Odds: 51.0 with Betway!

Lastly, there’s Lungi Ngidi, the third of the South African trio and a man who will also miss his team’s first game. There’s a possibility he may not play that much after only being a bit-part player last time out for CSK.

But with Hazlewood ruling himself out, he’s their only world-class overseas pace bowler so may actually play most of the time after all. He’s a huge price at 51.0 with Betway if you fancy it.

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