The tenth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to kick off on 5 April. As has been the case in the previous nine editions, there will be a lot of slam-bang, nail-biting and electrifying cricket to look forward to in this edition as well.
Apart from the countless sixes and fours, the aspect that makes this format that much more exciting is to see a bowler utilizing his gamut of skills to halt a batsman in charge.
A miserly four overs from a bowler in the IPL has often turned out be a great match-winning effort. In the championship’s nine-year history, there have been quite a few bowlers who, through their superlative economical bowling, have managed to be great match-winners for their respective teams.
Here’s a look at the five most economical bowlers through IPL’s history.
When the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) bought the West Indian off-spinner Sunil Narine back in the 2012 edition, hardly anybody knew what to expect from him. But over the course of his IPL career, Narine has proved to be the most effective bowler in the league.
With a very smooth action and without giving the ball much rip, Narine produces good turn and bounce and becomes a thorn in the side of the batsmen in the middle and death overs. In the 66 matches Narine has played in the league, he has taken 85 wickets at an exceptional economy rate of 6.17.
Ravichandran Ashwin rose to prominence courtesy his incredible performances in the IPL while playing for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK). The off-spinner’s guile, turn and dexterity helped him fox batsmen and the then CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni utilised him judiciously – sometimes with the new ball and mostly in the middle overs.
Ashwin has successfully managed to curtail batsmen when they are in an attacking mode and keeps getting wickets as a result of the relentless pressure he builds. In 111 matches in the IPL, Ashwin has captured 100 wickets at a terrific economy rate of 6.54.
When the IPL began, Anil Kumble was almost at the fag end of his international career. However, the former Indian leg-spinner was very effective in the three seasons he featured in.
With his oodles of experience and the endless variations in his repertoire, Kumble managed to become quite the stock bowler for his team, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), and also helped them reach the finals in the 2009 edition. In the 42 matches he played in the league, Kumble picked up 45 wickets at an economy rate of 6.57.
There has been no other bowler in the IPL who has been so successful in containing batsmen consistently. With his slingy action and an ability to produce toe-crushing yorkers at will, Lasith Malinga has undoubtedly been the most precious weapon in Mumbai Indians’ arsenal ever since the Sri Lankan made his debut for them in 2009.
In 98 IPL matches, Malinga has grabbed 143 wickets at a phenomenal economy rate of 6.67. And despite his regular trust with injuries, Malinga continues to remain almost as effective as he ever was in this format.
Sri Lanka’s champion spin bowler Muttiah Muralitharan was purchased in the initial IPL auction by the CSK franchise for a modest sum of $600,000. Muralitharan proved to be much more than his worth as he brought his wealth of experience and inexhaustible variety to trouble batsmen in the middle overs and help CSK clinch their first title win in 2010.
Even while he played for Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Royal Challengers Bangalore later, Muralitharan, despite losing much of his wicket-taking abilities, was quite productive as a container. In 63 matches, Muralitharan collected 66 wickets at an economy rate of 6.67.