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Indian Premier League 2021

IPL 2021: DC vs SRH – The league had missed Anrich Nortje's blistering pace

Anrich Nortje bowled a lethal spell full of pace and trickery and also picked up two important wickets against SRH

Anrich Nortje clocked speeds above 150 kmph in the match against SRH tonight [Source: IPL]

Anrich Nortje clocked speeds above 150 kmph in the match against SRH tonight [Source: IPL]


Anjishnu Roy

Updated: 23 Sep 2021 2:17 PM GMT

'Pace is pace.'

In T20 cricket, the image of fast bowlers hitting the deck hard and forcing the batsman to commit to a shot he didn't quite get the time to think through and hole one out to the fielder in deep is becoming increasingly common. Having bowlers that can clock speeds above 140-145kmph regularly has become a necessity for most sides that wish to do well in the shortest format of the game. When it comes to Delhi Capitals, however, who possess Avesh Khan, Kagiso Rabada, and especially Anrich Nortje, it is more than a luxury.

The 22 wickets for Anrich Nortje in UAE in 2020 was a breakthrough season for the South African who only came in as a last-minute replacement. He formed a formidable and lethal partnership with national teammate Kagiso Rabada and DC rode on their form on their way to the final. That made it even more unclear why Delhi Capitals did not go after him in the first leg of the Indian Premier League. The absence of Chris Woakes in the second half of the competition has enabled his return now and boy, has IPL 2021 missed his stride.

Everyone is aware of exactly how fast Anrich Nortje is at this point. When he takes the ball in hand and dashes his way through the field, breaths are collectively held in anticipation of a toe-crushing yorker or a steaming hard-length delivery. And yet, batsmen continue to fall for it every single time deceived by one thing and one thing only. Raw pace.

That's how David Warner, a man with over 5400 IPL runs at an average of over 41 and at a strike rate of over 140 lost his bearings and ended up holing one to Axar Patel. Right from that first over, Nortje had set the tone for DC in the game – going all out and not holding back. That's the theme they stuck with until Shreyas Iyer hit the six that won them the game.

Fun fact about Anrich Nortje's first over. Look at the delivery speed on each of the six balls:

1st ball – 149 kmph

2nd ball – 146 kmph

3rd ball – 147 kmph (the ball that Warner got out to)

4th ball – 151 kmph

5th ball – 151 kmph

6th ball – 147 kmph

In his very first IPL outing this season, the South African didn't take time to get off the mark. He has already recorded the eight fastest balls in IPL 2021 this season with his fastest and the league's fastest being 151.71 kmph! If that isn't batshit crazy, I don't know what is.

Coming back to the point, it isn't just Nortje's speed that makes him so scary. Pace is useless without the current application. The 27-year-old knows how to use the length to set up the batsmen. That is what he did in the over where he landed Kedar Jadhav's wicket. Nortje set Jadhav up with two consecutive hard length deliveries which pushed him back into his crease and compromised his footwork. The very next delivery was fuller and angling into the batter which resulted in the veteran batsmen being trapped for a plumb LBW.

Rabada's three-wicket spell might have fetched the honours for Delhi Capitals in the first innings but Anrich Nortje's lethal four overs full of pace and trickery set the tone for the side and ended up resulting in a dominant win.

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