With the Border-Gavaskar Trophy coming to an end, it’s time to look forward to IPL 2017 commencing in a few days. One of the most difficult things for a bowler to do during the IPL is maintaining a good economy rate as all the matches are played in India where teams are bound to end up a total of 180-190 in almost every match.
However, over the years, many bowlers have been able to consistently maintain a more than decent economy rate.
Extra Cover: IPL 2017: Top 10 five-fors in the IPL
Here are the five most economical bowlers in IPL history.
Note: This list has been compiled considering every bowler who has played at least 25 matches in the IPL
#5 Muttiah Muralitharan - 6.67 rpo
Murali was well in his late 30s by the time IPL began but he still had the X-factor and was in brilliant form for the Chennai Super Kings during the first three seasons, helping them win the title in 2010. The Sri Lankan was CSK’s highest wicket-taker during both the 2009 and 2010 editions, taking 14 and 15 wickets respectively.
However, his purchase by the now defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala for $1.1 million for the 2011 IPL did not do him any good as he made sporadic appearances for them during the early stages of the tournament before being relegated to the dugout.
Murali’s fortunes changed when he joined Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2012 and bowled a brilliant spell of 4/25 in his RCB debut. Murali eventually ended the season with 15 wickets at an economy rate of 6.50. He made a few appearances for RCB in the 2013 and 2014 editions before retiring from the IPL in 2014.
The Sri Lankan maestro is one of the most economical bowlers in IPL history, conceding only 6.67 runs an over in his 66 matches where he took 63 wickets.
#4 Lasith Malinga - 6.67 rpo
There is only one pacer in this list and that is none other than the highest wicket-taker in IPL history, Lasith Malinga. The Sri Lankan has been one of the main reasons Mumbai Indians are one of the most successful sides in IPL history, having taken 143 wickets since 2008, at a brilliant economy rate of 6.67.
Malinga did not make a single appearance during the first season due to the presence of Shaun Pollock in the side. However, after Pollock retired from cricket, Malinga became an important player for Mumbai Indians. He was the fourth highest wicket-taker during the 2009 edition and helped MI to the final of 2010 but it was not before the 2011 IPL when people understood the true lethality of Malinga.
The slingy pacer was the purple cap holder in the fourth edition of the IPL with 28 wickets and played a huge role in Mumbai Indians winning the IPL in 2013 and 2015, picking up 20 wickets and 24 wickets respectively.
Despite missing the 2016 season through injury, Malinga was retained by MI ahead of the 10th season which shows how crucial he is to their side.
#3 Anil Kumble - 6.57 rpo
Anil Kumble retired from the IPL in 2010 with 45 wickets to his name in 42 matches, at an economy rate of 6.57. Kumble had a disappointing inaugural season as he had only seven wickets to his name at an economy rate of 7.93 with his franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore ending the season as the second-last placed team.
During the second season in 2009, Kumble bowled one of the greatest spells in IPL history, picking up 5 wickets and conceding as many runs in RCB’s tournament opener against defending champs Rajasthan Royals.
After Kevin Pietersen left RCB to join the England team, Kumble was appointed the skipper of the team. Under Kumble’s captaincy, RCB reached the final where they would lose to Deccan Chargers. Kumble was adjudged the Man of the Match for his figures of 4/16 and ended the tournament as the second highest wicket-taker of the tournament.
In 2010, Kumble could not replicate the results of 2009 but led RCB to the semi-finals where they lost to Mumbai Indians. He ended the tournament as the fourth highest wicket-taker with 17 wickets.
#2 Ravichandran Ashwin - 6.55 rpo
One of the talismanic figures in the Indian cricket team, Ashwin owes his recognition to the IPL as it was during the 2010 edition that he came into prominence. Ashwin picked up 13 wickets at an economy rate of 6.1 as Chennai Super Kings won the tournament. Ever since then, Ashwin has established himself as one of the finest spinners to have played in the IPL.
The Tamil Nadu player made even more significant contributions towards CSK’s victorious campaign in 2011 as he was their highest wicket-taker with 20 wickets including a brilliant spell of 3/16 in the final against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Ashwin continued to be a vital part of CSK from 2012-2015 during which they reached the final thrice. Last year, the Indian off-spinner did not have the best of seasons with new franchise Rising Pune Supergiants as he picked up only 10 wickets at an economy rate of 7.25 thus making it the first time that Ashwin’s economy rate at the end of the season crossed 7.
As of now, Ashwin is the second most economical bowler in IPL history at 6.55, picking up 100 wickets. Looking at his recent form, he will definitely be one of the key players for the Supergiants this season.
#1 Sunil Narine - 6.35 rpo
The West Indies spinner first came into prominence at the 2011 Champions League Twenty20 where he took the tournament’s best figures of 3/8 against Chennai Super Kings while playing for Trinidad & Tobago. A few months later, he was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders and made a significant impact immediately as he produced one brilliant spell after another throughout the 2012 IPL.
Kolkata Knight Riders were eventually crowned champions of the tournament and Narine was adjudged Player of the Tournament thus making it the first time that a bowler was given that award at the IPL. Narine ended the tournament with 24 wickets which was the second-highest number of wickets for the tournament, and he did so at an impressive economy rate of 5.47.
The West Indian soon became KKR’s prized possession for the next two years and helped them to a second IPL title in 2014 where he once again was the second highest wicket-taker of the competition with 21 wickets at an economy rate of 6.35.
Narine wasn’t in the best of form in IPL 2015 and IPL 2016 but he has still managed to keep himself as the most economical bowler in IPL history with an economy rate of 6.17 and picked up 85 wickets.