Happy Birthday Anrich Nortje: South Africa, Delhi Capitals speedster turns 27

South African speedster Anrich Nortje is celebrating his 27th birthday today. The lanky pacer had caught the eye of the cricketing world while playing for Delhi Capitals in the recently concluded IPL 2020. In just his maiden IPL season, he grasped 22 wickets from 16 games – finishing at the fourth position in the Purple Cap race.

Nortje set the stage on fire in IPL 2020 with his searing pace, and finally drew the attention of the world after having been somewhat of an unknown quantity earlier on. He bowled the fastest delivery in IPL history in this edition, which was recorded at a lightening quick 156.22 kph.

The pacer had made his International debut on 3rd March 2019 in an ODI against Sri Lanka at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg. This was followed by T20I and Test debuts for South Africa in quick succession. Still a newcomer on the International scene, the tearaway quick is being considered as a fine future prospect.

An unfortunate shoulder injury in 2019 stopped him from playing in the World Cup and also the IPL 2019, where he has been picked-up by Kolkata Knight Riders. But KKR’s loss became Delhi’s gain as he was bought by the Capitals in the last auctions.

Nortje has played 7 ODI’s and 6 Test matches thus far, accumulating 14 and 19 wickets respectively. But IPL 2020 was his claim to fame and if his performances are anything to go by, South Africa have a real gem at their disposal. He formed a lethal bowling partnership with fellow South African Kagiso Rabada – the duo being very instrumental in Delhi’s first ever run to the IPL Final.

It is pretty rare to see a bowler setting the speed guns on fire these days with hardly a few bowlers left in world cricket who can go bowl above the 150 kph barrier continuously. Thus it was amongst IPL’s highlight reels when Nortje bowled an entire over the fancied mark in a league game against Rajasthan Royals and rattled through Jos Buttler’s stumps with a missile of a ball that was measured at 154.8 kph.  On the previous delivery, he bowled the fastest delivery in IPL history at 156.22 kph.

While Rabada finished as the highest wicket-taker in IPL 2020 with an astonishing 30 wickets, Nortje wasn’t far behind with an impressive 22 wickets. The pacer was outstanding whenever called upon by his skipper Shreyas Iyer and unsettled the opposition with his sheer pace.

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Sagar Biswas

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