Sunrisers Hyderabad's tearaway quick Umran Malik may not be among the wickets but he is acing one department of bowling - pace.
The Jammu and Kashmir quick recorded the fastest delivery of IPL 2021 and has taken that form into this season, consistently bowling at over 150 kph.
Playing against Lucknow Super Giants in Mumbai on Monday, Malik was at it again. In the 14th over of Lucknow's innings, Malik was clocked at 152.4 kph (94.7mph). It was the quickest delivery of IPL 2022. In fact, his pace rarely fell below the 90mph mark in the match.
His latest feat fell just short of his 2021 record where, against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Abu Dhabi, the 21-year-old maxed out the speed gun at 152.95 kph (95mph). That was the fastest ball of IPL 2021, and one of the quickest deliveries bowled by any Indian bowler.
However, Malik's pace has not translated to wickets or consistency so far. He was taken for 39 runs from his three overs by Lucknow, with Deepak Hooda going after him after the batsman was dropped at third man off Malik's bowling. That tough chance went for a six, further spoiling his statistics.
However, Malik's extreme pace is encouraging for his franchise and the Indian cricket establishment. Hyderabad captain Kane Williamson backed the youngster to improve sooner rather than later.
“Incredibly exciting, he's got that raw pace, hopefully he continues to evolve as a cricketer,” Williamson said of Malik. “He's young, got some experience last year which was really valuable and I'm sure he'll just continue to get better.”
In his previous match, Malik was taken for 21 runs by Rajasthan Royals batsman Jos Buttler in his first over. Malik then fought back in his next three overs, picking up Buttler and Devdutt Padikkal.
In Monday's game, Hyderabad were beaten after Lucknow ran out winners by 12 runs as captain KL Rahul top-scored with 68 off 50 balls.