In the recently concluded Indian T20 League, English pacer Jofra Archer set the tournament on fire and was the undisputed Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the season. Archer’s numbers speak for themselves, picking up 20 wickets at an average of 18.25 while only conceding runs at 6.55 are outstanding numbers for any bowler in the format.
This season, fast bowlers were dominant throughout the tournament due to some good pitches being prepared in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and with reasonable boundary sizes at most of the venues. Still, Jofra Archer was the outlier in the fast bowling department. His economy was the best amongst the 40 seamers who bowled at least 15 overs throughout the season.
It wasn’t just out and out pace which made him successful, he was brilliant with the new ball up front as well as nailed his yorkers at the back end of an innings. His powerplay economy rate at 4.34 was the best by any bowler in any T20 tournament across the globe.
He troubled almost every batsman in the competition and out of his 20 wickets, ten came in the powerplay. The top order is the most important for any T20 team as they usually do the bulk of the scoring and having Archer in your team guarantees you that he will pick up early wickets which gets the opposition on the back foot straight away.
Amongst the top batters, he made David Warner his bunny yet again, and got players like Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, Jonny Bairstow, Chris Gayle and Shikhar Dhawan out. These are all devastating batsmen and Jofra proved to be too good for them on certain occasions. Fifteen of the 20 wickets were of batsmen in top three positions and mostly for single-digit scores.
There’s a misconception that wicket-taking bowlers are often too expensive, Archer put that theory to rest as well in this season. Out of 14 innings, he conceded more than seven runs an over only on four occasions. He achieved all of these insane numbers with hardly any support from the other end of that Rajasthan bowling line-up. He picked up as many wickets as the other Rajasthan bowlers combined. Just imagine if they had somebody on the other end to show some support to Jofra, Rajasthan would have for sure made it to the playoffs in this edition.
As if just his bowling exploits weren’t enough, Jofra proved out to be a power-hitter for Rajasthan at the back of the innings. He more than exceeded expectations with the bat and ended up with an overly impressive strike rate of 179. He smashed ten sixes off just 63 balls he faced in the tournament. His cameo against Chennai at Sharjah would be fondly remembered by all the Rajasthan fans out there. If you think he was done then you’re highly mistaken. He was acrobatic in the field as usual and was always deployed at hot zones on the field by Steven Smith, places where we don’t usually see big fast bowlers fielding.
Overall, Jofra Archer’s impact was way ahead than his competitors in this season of the Indian T20 League and he was rightly awarded the MVP award this year.
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