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Proteas star Kagiso Rabada smashes IPL record

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Johannesburg – Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada trademarked his status as one the modern-day greats of the game when he became the fastest bowler to 100 Indian Premier League wickets.

Rabada required just 64 matches, eclipsing Sri Lankan and Mumbai Indians legend Lasith Malinga’s previous mark of 70 games by six.

It is an incredible feat by the 27-year-old, particularly as he regularly joins the IPL after a long international season, where he routinely plays virtually every game across formats for the Proteas.

Rabada missed the start of this season’s IPL due to staying back with the Proteas to complete the all-important ODI series against the Netherlands that hopefully will guarantee Rob Walter’s team automatic qualification to the Cup in India later this year.

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Unfortunately, though, he was ruled out of the final ODI at the Wanderers due to a slight injury and subsequently missed the first couple of Punjab Kings’ matches this season.

He returned to the Kings’ starting XI on Thursday evening to pick up Gujarat Titans’ batter Wriddhiman Saha’s to reach the prestigious milestone.

Rabada joined the IPL five years ago when he was bought by the Delhi Daredevils (now Capitals). He only played six matches in his debut 2017 season and claimed six wickets.

A lower-stress back injury which sidelined him for three months forced Rabada to miss the 2018 edition, but he made a significant return in 2019.

Although former Proteas coach Ottis Gibson was caught in a tussle with Cricket SA in a bid to get Rabada back earlier from the IPL due to the upcoming Cup in the United Kingdom, the fast bowler was in terrific form for Delhi.

He claimed 25 wickets in just 12 matches at an average of just 14.72 and economy rate of 7.82 before Gibson finally managed to get his star fast bowler home from India.

Without any Cups to focus on, and the IPL moving to the United Arab Emirates and played in September and not the customary April month due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Rabada enjoyed his most successful season yet.

He thrived on the UAE pitches, claiming 30 wickets in 17 matches at an average of 18.26 and economy of 8.34, to finish as the tournament’s leading bowler in 2020. He was three ahead of Mumbai Indians’ Jasprit Bumrah, and seven more than his Delhi and Proteas teammate Anrich Nortje (23).

The pair formed a formidable pace combination as their collective 53 wickets powered Delhi to the final at the Dubai International Stadium.

The following 2021 season was Rabada’s last at Delhi with him bagging 15 wickets at an average of 30.40 and economy of 8.14.

A new challenge ensued with Punjab Kings breaking the bank at the 2022 auction to purchase Rabada for close to R18 million.

He immediately repaid the investment by claiming 23 wickets in 13 matches at 17.65 to finish as the leading fast bowler in the tournament once again.

@ZaahierAdams

Sport

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