He made his debut for the Gauteng in the CSA Provincial One-Day Competition against Border in December 2013.
He was chosen to represent South Africa's Under-19 side for the 2014 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup. As South Africa won the tournament, he was their best bowler claiming the 2nd most wickets (14) in the tournament at an economy rate of 3.10. He also claimed the best figures of the tournament: 6/25 against Australia A. This led to him being dubbed "the fastest and most feared bowler in the competition".
His performances in the Under-19 World Cup saw him catapulted into the Lions franchise side for their last two games of the Sunfoil Series season. He took 7 wickets for 186 in these two matches.
In February 2015, Rabada took a record 14 wickets in a match for Lions against Dolphins, including 9 for 33 in the second innings his 14 for 105 are the best figures in the franchise era of South African cricket.
In February 2016, it was announced that Rabada had signed a short-term deal to play county cricket for Kent County Cricket Club in June and July of the English domestic season, passing up the opportunity of an IPL contract to gain experience in English conditions. He played in two County Championship and six T20 matches for the county during his spell in England.
In February 2017, he was bought by the Delhi Daredevils team for the 2017 Indian Premier League for 5 crores.
He made his Twenty20 International debut for South Africa against Australia on 5 November 2014.
He made his One Day International debut for South Africa against Bangladesh on 10 July 2015, achieving best figures of 6/16 on debut. He also became only the second player, after Taijul Islam, to take a hat-trick on debut in an ODI match. He made his Test debut for South Africa against India on 5 November 2015. In the fourth Test of England's 2015–16 tour of South Africa, he finished with figures of 13/144 helping his team win the game. In the process, he became the youngest South African to take a ten-wicket haul in a Test, and the figures were his team's second best ever, after Makhaya Ntini's 13/132.
During the first Test at Lord's in South Africa's 2017 tour of England, Rabada was suspended for the second Test at Trent Bridge following an altercation with Ben Stokes after using "inappropriate language" after dismissing Stokes on the first day.
Rabada's first ten wicket haul in a Test match came in 2016 against England during the 4th Test at Centurion. He took 13 wickets in the match, including two five wicket hauls, and returned his best innings bowling figures of 7/112 in the England first innings. His second ten wicket haul came in 2017 against Sri Lanka at Cape Town.
As well as the five-fors he took in the matches when he took ten wickets, as of June 2017 he has taken a total of five five wicket hauls in Test matches, the first of which was earlier in England's 2016 tour of South Africa. He repeated the feat in Australia in 2016 at the WACA. He was the man of the match in this fixture and also received the award in each of the matches in which he took ten wickets.
In One Day International cricket he has taken one five wicket haul against Bangladesh at Dhaka in 2015 when he took 6/16 from 8 overs, his best ODI bowling figures. He was awarded the man of the match award and has received the award twice more as of June 2017, once against New Zealand at Auckland in March 2017 and once against England at Lord's in May 2017.
His father is a doctor and his mother Florence is a lawyer. He is the older of two brothers.