Only a day remains for cricket festivities to resume, as the world’s premier T20 competition commences for the 14th season. A second successive IPL competition to take place during this pandemic stricken times is something to be lauded for. The fans would breathe a collective sigh of relief as they see their favorite teams and superstars take the field once again and battle it out for the glory.

The Indian Premier League is praised for many reasons, and one of the prime reasons is watching the best in the world go head to head against each other. The best players in the world combined with high-pressure situations produce some absolute moments of spectacle to behold. With fans looking forward to contests within the contest, the hype is never-ending.

Today we take a look at the top five batsmen vs bowler duels who have faced each other the most in the last five editions of the Indian Premier League. Here goes:

Jasprit Bumrah (MI) vs Shikhar Dhawan (DC)

Jasprit Bumrah Shikhar Dhawan IPL
Jasprit Bumrah (MI) vs Shikhar Dhawan (DC)

India’s two top limited over giants go head to head for the bragging rights in the dressing room. Shikhar Dhawan playing for Delhi Capitals and Jasprit Bumrah for Mumbai Indians are both devastating in the respective roles as they open the innings with bat and ball respectively. 

Dhawan has faced off Bumrah in a total of 10 innings so far in the IPL, with the Delhi batsman scoring 89 runs off the 68 balls bowled to him by the Mumbai bowler.

Dhawan’s runs have come at a strike rate of 130.88 against the Indian pace bowler and this shows how well he has negated the Bumrah effect as his IPL career strike rate stands only at  126.88. With Boom only able to dismiss the southpaw once in 10 innings, Dhawan surely has come out on top, something Bumrah will look to change in the coming season.

Rashid Khan (SRH) vs Shreyas Iyer (DC)

Rashid Khan Shreyas Iyer IPL
Rashid Khan (SRH) vs Shreyas Iyer (DC)

Two youngsters battle it out as Delhi Capitals permanent skipper Shreyas Iyer and Sunrisers Hyderabad marquee player Rashid Khan face-off. Being one of the top premium spin bowlers in the shortest format of the game, the Afghan bowler has been a handful for India's ODI number 4. With 65 deliveries faced between each other in 9 innings, the Delhi batsman has only been able to score 69 runs.

Rashid Khan’s superiority can be seen even further when we take into consideration that the Indian batsman finds it hard to score at his normal pace against the bowler. With Shreyas Iyer’s IPL career strike rate standing at 126.07, runs against Rashid Khan have come only at a strike rate of 106.15. Adding on to the fact that the bowler has been able to dismiss the batsman twice. This round goes to the Afghan bowler.

Sunil Narine (KKR) vs Rohit Sharma (MI)

Sunil Narine Rohit Sharma IPL
Sunil Narine (KKR) vs Rohit Sharma (MI)

Another interesting matchup is that of Mumbai Indians' skipper Rohit Sharma and Kolkata Knight Rider’s spinner Sunil Narine. With Mumbai skipper opening the innings and Sunil Narine being an equally adept powerplay bowler, both have found worthy opponents in each other. 

With the Indian batsman’s attacking nature hidden to no one, it would come as a surprise that he has only been able to score 67 runs in 9 innings from the 65 balls played between the duo.

Many would sing praises of Sunil Narine as the powerplay gives the batsman an edge and yet Hitman could only score at a much slower rate compared to his IPL career strike rate of 130.62. 

With his strike rate against the West Indies bowler standing at 103.08 and taking into consideration the Indian batsman has been dismissed twice with only 8 deliveries hit for boundaries, Sunil Narine deserves all the plaudits for his performances against the Indian opener.

Sandeep Sharma (SRH) vs Ajinkya Rahane (DC)

Sandeep Sharma Ajinkya Rahane IPL
Sandeep Sharma (SRH) vs Ajinkya Rahane (DC)

Indian Test squad stalwart and Delhi Capitals middle-order mainstay Ajinkya Rahane has met an unlikely foe in Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer Sandeep Sharma. It would come as a surprise to many that the SRH pacer has similar, if not better statistics compared to India’s numero uno Jasprit Bumrah in the IPL. 

So it shouldn’t come as a shock that Rahane has struggled against the Sunrisers swing bowler, scoring 60 runs off the 64 balls bowled to him.

Rahane struggles against the bowler are further highlighted when you take into consideration the strike rate against the Indian bowler stands at 93.75 while his IPL career stat stands at 121.39. The Indian batsman hasn’t enjoyed much success in terms of boundaries also with only 7 of the 64 balls amounting for fours with zero hits over the rope. Clearly, Sandeep Sharma has done a number on the Indian batsman. 

Jasprit Bumrah (MI) vs KL Rahul (PK)

Jasprit Bumrah  KL Rahul IPL
Jasprit Bumrah (MI) vs KL Rahul (PK)

The Punjab skipper and opening batsman KL Rahul and Mumbai Indian premier pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah is another battle of the giants. The Punjab batsman has surely proven his prowess in the IPL, winning the Orange cap and dominating the competition in the last edition. MI speedster Jasprit Bumrah has thrown down 68 balls to the Indian batsman in 7 innings and has gone for 86 runs.

KL Rahul has played the 28-year-old bowler exceptionally well, although his runs coming at a slightly slower pace. With the Indian batsman’s IPL career strike rate standing at 135.81, runs against Boom-Boom have come at a strike rate of only 126.47. However, KL Rahul holds all the honors in this duel even though Jasprit Bumrah has dismissed him twice and 16.1% percent of his deliveries to the batsman has been dispatched to the boundary, which amounts to 50 runs.

The below graph gives us an insight into how the batsman have been able to play their most frequent opponent bowler. It is indeed very interesting to note that out of the top five brawls only the Indian south-paw has managed to play the bowler at a higher strike rate than his overall career SR. It is also a colossal effort from the 35-year old to take on the leading Indian bowler with great consistency and has given away his wicket on just one occasion out of the 10 innings. 

Graph SR IPL
The graph depicts the Batsmen's Career SR vs their most frequent opponent bowler in the last 5 editions

Which one among the duels did you find the most interesting? Stay tuned with Cricwizz as we strive to bring you more intriguing articles on the head-to-head analysis of the players and an insight into the unique stats surrounding the gentlemen's game.

Stats credit: Arghyadip Ganguly