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ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2022 T20 leagues bowling winner: Umran Malik rips through Gujarat Titans

You can't argue against genuine pace, as five batters found out in an IPL game

Alagappan Muthu
Alagappan Muthu
This game was all about Malik. At each point when Sunrisers Hyderabad were being batted out in a chase of 196, they turned to the 22-year old tearaway and he single-handedly kept them alive.
Malik took every single wicket to fall in an innings that otherwise progressed smoothly for Gujarat Titans. Four clean-bowled and the other guy beaten for pace by a bouncer. This wasn't a bowling performance. It was a calling card, like Zorro leaving behind those big old Zs.
144 kph. 152 kph. 148kph. 146 kph. These were the speeds that Malik generated to go right through Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha, David Miller and Abhinav Manohar. And although he wasn't able to secure victory for his team, this was the day he became the cricketer he had been working to be all his life.

Key moment

Numbers off a speed gun are sometimes just that. The real effect of pace can only be seen in what it does to a batter. Remember the other guy who was beaten for pace? Well, his name was Hardik Pandya and he was made to look like a complete amateur. Bowlers who do that to batters of that calibre are game-changers.

The numbers

2 Malik's position on the list of best figures by an uncapped Indian seamer in the IPL.
8 Number of wickets Malik's five were worth according to ESPNcricinfo's Super Stats, which add context to stats in T20. This was based on the fact that none of his team-mates were showing any signs of success, and he was the only one not just keeping SRH in the game but also putting them in position to win.
166.64 Impact points for Malik, according to Super Stats. This is the highest impact rating that a bowler has ever recorded in the IPL.

What they said

"I don't think he'll ever be a line-and-length bowler. He's born in a Ferrari and he's going to drive the Ferrari."
- Sunrisers Hyderabad head coach at the time, Tom Moody
"That pace generates anxiety among batters and not just tailenders, all batters. We don't often see bowlers get around the 153-154 mark. So to see that is a huge part of the game now. You can see the excitement factor, brings a bit of X-factor."
- Former New Zealand bowler and well-travelled franchise T20 coach Daniel Vettori

The closest contenders

Mohsin Khan
4 for 16 vs Delhi Capitals, IPL, Mumbai

Fifty off 24 with five wickets left is a basic chase in T20 cricket. Mohsin, one of the breakout stars of IPL 2022, was assigned the job of bowling the 17th over against Delhi Capitals, who needed 50 off 24. He picked up two wickets and gave away only four runs, to add to the wickets of David Warner and Rishabh Pant earlier.
Josh Little
5 for 13 vs Oval Invincibles, The Hundred, Manchester

By the time he had bowled 44 balls as a replacement pick, Ireland's Little was already Manchester Originals' joint-highest wicket-taker in the Hundred. And in this game, using the big square boundaries at Old Trafford to his advantage, the left-armer knocked over four of the Oval Invincibles' top six to help his team to a fifth-straight victory.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo