The last few overs of a limited overs cricket match are a hectic time. This article aims to give you, the bowler, a few basic tips on how to negotiate them successfully.
First, it helps to be a medium pace or quicker bowler. If you’re a spinner, convince your captain to bowl you in the middle of the innings, when you can help the team most by taking wickets. If you do get put on at the end, vary your pace, keep your cool, and don’t take it personally if someone happens to have a good day against you. Don’t be afraid to toss the ball up, but equally don’t do it every ball. Keep spinning the ball hard.
For most death bowling, the yorker should be the stock ball, because the length ball that gets wickets against good shots is relatively easy to slog. This is, undoubtedly, a very difficult ball to bowl consistently, but it can be done with practice. Get it right, and you have a delivery which is exceptionally difficult to hit to the boundary and which stands a good chance of getting wickets. If the opposition start clearing the front leg to counter this, or start using their feet, then you use the occasional short delivery to stop them. They are now playing either cross batted or on the move, so there is a good chance of the short of a length ball being hit straight up in the air.
Use, and disguise, a slower delivery. You could bowl this as a leg spinner, off spinner, out of the back of the hand, or in a number of other ways, but the important thing is to disguise it by choosing a method which is consistent with your normal action and which looks like a full speed ball. For most people bowling out swing, an off break is usually a fairly good bet. Aim the ball on a good length if trying to get them to play back to you or hit in the air. Aim it yorker length if you think you can get the change of pace through to bowl them.
Set your field carefully. Persuade your captain to put the best fielders on the boundary at the death. If you’re bowling yorkers, protect the straight boundary and keep fine leg back too so as to cut runs from the leg glance. If you’re bowling shorter, fielders squarer on the leg side may be needed. The off side is less of a priority, because unless there is a special reason not to, you should be bowling straight at the death. Your opponents will be playing big shots, shots that they have a chance of missing. Bowling straight will ensure that when they do so, you get wickets in return.