The past week has been a particularly good one for India's second rung of fast bowlers. Sandeep Sharma, Ankit Rajpoot, Siddarth Kaul, Avesh Khan, and Basil Thampi have all impressed, but some of them have had more than just moments; they have put in match-turning performances.
Rajpoot's 5 for 14 against Sunrisers Hyderabad are the season's best figures so far, though it didn't result in a Kings XI Punjab win. A game earlier, he took 2 for 23 versus Delhi Daredevils in a narrow win. Similarly, Kaul has been consistency personified throughout the tournament, and especially in the last week, with figures of 3 for 23, 0 for 25 and 2 for 23 in four-over stints against Mumbai Indians, Kings XI and Rajasthan Royals respectively.
Sandeep, though, has outdone them both. In fact, he has outdone every other bowler in the IPL so far, in terms of economy rates, so much that they haven't missed the injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was equally outstanding in the four games he played. In his last three games, Sandeep has returned figures of 1 for 9 (three overs), 2 for 17 and 1 for 15 (four overs each), which give him combined figures of 4 for 41 from 11 overs in his last three matches.
In terms of traditional economy rates, Sandeep, Rajpoot and Kaul are in first, second and fourth places among the 20 fast bowlers who have bowled six or more overs in the last week. In terms of Smart Economy Rates - which takes into account the match economy rates and the phase in which they bowled their overs - they are in first, third and fourth places, outdoing more high-profile names like Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, the costliest Indian buy at the auction, and Trent Boult.
The overall tournament numbers also reflect just how good Sandeep has been so far. His Smart Economy Rate (SER) of 2.83 is well clear of Mujeeb Ur Rahman's 5.01. Rajpoot is third and Kaul is sixth. Sandeep has gone for only 66 runs in 15 overs, and has saved his team 23.53 runs so far. Similarly, Rajpoot has saved Kings XI 8.66 runs in 11 overs, and Kaul has saved Sunrisers 21.53 in 23 overs.
Rajpoot and Sandeep are also the leaders in terms of Dot Pressure Index (DPI), a metric which measures the frequency with which they are able to string together three or more dot balls within an over. (Bowlers get one point for three successive dots, 1.33 for four, 1.66 for five, and two for a maiden over. The points are added up and divided by the number of innings bowled, to get the DPI.) Rajpoot has a DPI of 2.22, and Sandeep 2.16.
Sandeep's numbers in the first six overs have stood out. In the Powerplays, his SER is an exceptional 2.31, while Rajpoot isn't far behind at 2.54. Both have dot-ball percentages of more than 60. Kaul, meanwhile, is at his best in the death overs (16.1 to 20). In the last four, his SER is 5.4, best among the bowlers who have bowled six or more overs in this phase.