IPL 2022 - Top Contenders For The Purple Cap 

As the IPL 2022 reaches it’s midway point with 35 league games played, let’s take a look at some of the best bowlers in the league who are in the race for the Purple Cap, awarded to the highest wicket-taker across the season. The usual suspects like Chahal, Bravo, Shami, Avesh Khan etc are all in the mix again, also joined by new talents like Natarajan and Khaleel Ahmed The Purple Cap race is always a spectacle to look out for every season. 

Rules for Purple Cap

  1. The award is given to the IPL’s highest wicket-taker of the season.
  2. During the season, the batsman who has taken the most wickets in the tournament will wear the Purple Cap on the field.
  3. Even if an opposing bowler has overtaken his wickets, the Purple Cap owner is entitled to wear the Cap until the end of the innings.
  4. In case of a tie, the bowler with a better economy rate is awarded the Purple Cap.

What is the Purple Cap?

The IPL Purple Cap is an annual award given to the top wicket-taker during the IPL season. In the first season of the tournament, in 2008, the award was created and was first won by Sohail Tanvir, who took 22 wickets. 

The Purple Cap is given to the tournament's best bowler. Whoever is the current highest wicket-taker can wear the Purple Cap while batting or fielding. Dwayne Bravo and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar  have won the maximum number of Purple Caps with 2 awards each.

Let’s take a look at some of the favourites to win the Purple Cap this season, with stats being recorded up to the midway point of the league. 

Yuzvendra Chahal - Rajasthan Royals

In what can be called the comeback of the season, Yuzvendra Chahal has fought back to the very top of the IPL bowler standings with a staggering 18 wickets in just 8 matches, including a stunning hattrick. 

Chahal has been down and out of the Indian Cricket scenario over the last few years, and was also released by RCB despite being their all-time highest wicket taker. He was not expected to be anywhere near the Indian Squad for the upcoming 2022 ICC World Cup T20 later this year. However, he has answered his critics in the best possible way, being prolific since day 1 and being a big reason for the Royals being top of the league table. 

In the game against KKR, Chahal picked up 4 wickets in one over, including a stunning hattrick which completely turned the game around.Chahal started the 17th over with a flighted googly that spun past Venkatesh Iyer, who had danced down the track wanting to hit it over the top.In the fourth ball, Chahal got the biggest wicket. He outfoxed KKR captain Shreyas to trap him right in front with a flipper.Shivam Mavi was the next to go as his attempted heave landed straight on the long on fielder's hands.Chahal completed his maiden IPL hat-trick - the 21st of the tournament - with a flighted leg-spinner that found the outside edge of Cummins' bat.

Chahal became the 19th bowler in IPL history to take a hattrick and he is also 5th in the all-time IPL charts with 157 wickets. 

He has been absolutely brilliant this season, with his variations bamboozling top batsmen into submission, and with this form, he looks set to secure the Purple Cap as well as his place in the Indian Team for the 2022 T20 World Cup to be held in Australia. 

Andre Russell - Kolkata Knight Riders

Andre Russell is one of a handful of players who can turn the game on its head with a single play. He is simply unstoppable on his day, and can literally end careers with his big hits and key wickets.

Russell has been with the Kolkata Knight Riders since 2014 and is an important member of the team. His efforts with the bat and ball over the years have earned the management's trust, and he has been retained by KKR for INR 12 crores.

Russell had appeared in 84 IPL games and scored 1700 runs with a whopping strike rate of 178.57 before this season started. He had taken 72 wickets at an average of 26.40 with the ball. 

Russell has won the purple cap before and is also the only player with multiple MVP awards in the history of the IPL, thereby confirming his status as an IPL legend.

This season, the Big West Indian started off brilliantly with the bat, with some huge hits and trademark match-winning knocks. However, in the last few matches, Russell has been brilliant with the ball as well, especially in the death overs. He has taken 10 wickets in just 8 matches, at an incredible average of 15.30, among the best in the league. 

Sunil Narine - Kolkata Knight Riders

Sunil Narine is another Caribbean Knight Rider that appears on this list. KKR signed him to a six-year contract for INR six crores. His performance in the previous IPL season was outstanding, as he took 16 wickets at an economy rate of 6.44.

Narine also had a few fleeting cameos with the bat, and his overall contributions helped the squad reach the play-offs last year. With the ball, he slows the run rate while also taking important wickets for the side, making him one of the tournament's most significant players.

Since making his IPL debut in 2012, the 33-year-old has taken 149 wickets for KKR, including seven four-wicket hauls and a fifer. This was the team that showcased his hitting ability and moved him up the order. The player's relationship with the KKR management is quite good, and he will try to deliver another excellent performance in the IPL 2022.

Narine has often opened the innings as well, and can be very explosive with the bat, making him even more valuable to his side. This season, while he has only taken 6 wickets so far, its his economy rate that makes him standout as a special bowler, as he bowls at under 5.38. 

Lockie Ferguson - Gujarat Titans

With his blistering speed, this New Zealander has been terrorizing the top hitters in the game. He is one of the quickest bowlers in the game, frequently bowling at or over 145 Kmph.

His IPL career began in 2017 with the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiants club, and after a year-long sabbatical, he restarted his IPL career with KKR, where he played quite a few matches throughout his three-year stay. Ferguson's performance in the IPL 2021, when he took 13 wickets in eight matches at an economy rate of 7.46, was outstanding.

Ferguson was handed a lucrative deal with Gujarat Titans this year for an extravagant price of INR 10 Crores. He now spearheads the pace attack alongside Mohammed Shami, and unless his ailments prevent him from doing so, we might see a magnificent show of pace bowling from him in the second half of the season as well. Injuries have robbed Newzealand of a special special player in his prime, but we hope Ferguson will finally be able to get rid of all these injury troubles and emerge as one of the deadliest bowlers in the world.

This season he has played 7 matches for the Gujarat Titans and has taken 9 wickets, but has also bowled very economically, with some special spells turning matches in his team’s favour. 

Trent Boult - Rajasthan Royals

Trent Boult made his IPL debut in 2015 for Sunrisers Hyderabad, and he then played for the Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Capitals before being traded to the Mumbai Indians in 2020. He has been a huge success in MI colours.

Batsmen in the league are routinely troubled by this left-arm pacer's swing bowling and the angle he produces. He was deployed as a wicket-taking bowler up front as well as an efficient death bowling option. His 25 wickets in 15 matches helped the Mumbai Indians win their sixth IPL title in 2020.

Boult was released by MI and auctioned off to the Rajasthan Royals for INR eight crores last year. He was promptly retained for this season, and while he missed a couple of matches initially, he has started the 2022 season quite well, with 7 wickets in 5 matches. As of now he has let Yuzvendra Chahal handle the wicket-taking duties, but with Boult’s talent it’s fairly predictable that he would be among the top wicket-takers by the end of the season. 

In the 68 matches he has played in the IPL, he has taken 83 wickets. Boult is also a remarkable fielder, which is rare for a fast bowler. His ability to swing the ball in the opening overs and then to take wickets in the death overs make him a complete bowler.

Kagiso Rabada - Punjab Kings

This year's IPL auction was all about the fast bowlers, with the majority of them signing lucrative contracts. Kagiso Rabada of South Africa, who has been with the Delhi Capitals since 2017, is one such crucial bowler. It was a fairly difficult decision for DC to retain him or his compatriot Anrich Nortje. Eventually the management decided to stick with Nortje and released Rabada, though they did try to bid again for him.

As a result, he joined the Punjab Kings franchise after being acquired for INR 9.25 crores. Rabada's outstanding performance in 2019 was one of the key reasons the squad made the playoffs.

This Proteas bowler also received the purple cap for having the most wickets in 2020. He has taken 83 wickets in 56 IPL games. He would be expected to continue that brilliant bowling average for the Punjab Kings now. This season, Rabada started well, but has had to suffice with just 7 wickets in 6 matches at an average of around 25, which is way higher than his standard. Yet, with the talent and ability at his disposal, we expect Rabada to be right up there among the top wicket-takers this season. 

Dwayne Bravo - Chennai Super Kings

Throughout the years, Dwayne Bravo has been one of the top all-rounders in the Indian Premier League. Bowling and big-hitting down the order are two of his core strengths, that ensure he wins plenty of matches for whichever team he is playing for. Bravo is also one of the best fielders in the world, hence he’s the complete T20 package, worth his weight in gold.

Before joining Chennai Super Kings for the 2011 season, Bravo spent three seasons with Mumbai Indians. Bravo finished as CSK's third-highest run scorer with 371 runs at a strike rate of 140.53 and 15 wickets in the 2012 tournament. Then he shone with the ball as the Purple Cap was awarded to Bravo as he concluded the 2013 tournament with 32 wickets. He repeated that feat with another Purple Cap triumph in the 2015 edition as he picked up 27 wickets. After a mixed couple of years with Gujarat Lions in 2016 and 2017, Bravo was picked up by CSK again at the 2018 auction with their Right To Match card. CSK have heavily relied on Bravo’s all-round exploits as they have emerged as one of the strongest teams in IPL history. Despite the fact that Bravo is 38 years old, he still has a lot to offer and CSK kept their faith in him by re-signing him again on their roster at the 2022 IPL Grand Auction. 

Bravo is defying age yet again this season, as he is marching toe-to-toe with some of the best young bowlers in the world, and outclassing them as well. He is 4th on the list of wicket-takers with 12 wickets in 7 matches, at a brilliant average of 18.08. He has already won this award twice before, and looks set to be a top contender this time around as well. With 179 wickets in 155 innings, Bravo is the highest wicket-taker in IPL history, as he eclipsed Lasith Malinga this season. 

Harshal Patel – Royal Challengers Bangalore 

Another player who benefitted immensely after a trade between franchises, Harshal Patel is having a dream phase at RCB so far. The all-rounder was traded by the Delhi Capitals to the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who were struggling with pace bowling options. Let’s just say the Capitals must be regretting their decision big time now. 

Harshal Patel is one of the few bowlers who are equally effective in the powerplay overs as well as in the death overs. Despite not boasting of some scary pace, Patel has managed to perfect his line and length and is often very difficult to score against.

Many batsmen end up giving up their wickets while trying to score off his bowling. Harshal Patel rose to prominence with a huge 5 wicket haul in a crucial game last season, and then proceeded to prove that he is not a one match wonder, by picking up a staggering 32 wickets in just 13 matches! He won the Purple Cap last season and has single-handedly improved RCB’s erstwhile average bowling attack. This season, despite a tragedy in his family for which he left the team's bio bubble for 2 matches, Harshal has been spot on with his bowling again, with 9 wickets in 7 matches, and looks set to be one of the leading bowlers again. 

#Cricket, #IPL, #Purple cap award

Akshay Malhotra

28 year old former professional cricketer at youth levels with a burning passion for sports. Experienced football writer with over 8 years of experience.