During the initial promotion of the format, T20 was deemed to be a paradise for batsmen and a graveyard for bowlers. However, it did not turn out exactly how it was envisaged and bowlers churned out strategies and variations to take batsmen by the scruff of the neck.
The IPL has witnessed a spree of awe-inspiring bowling over the years and it promises no less in IPL 2017.
We take a look at five of the best bowling spells in the history of the league.
#5 Lasith Malinga - 5/13 vs Delhi Daredevils - 2011
The fourth contest of the 2011 edition of the Indian Premier League between the Mumbai Indians and Daredevils at the Feroz Shah Kotla was undoubtedly a one-sided contest. But, the quality of cricket, especially the bowling by the Mumbai Indians’ bowlers, was stupendous, to say the least.
In the day-night encounter, Lasith Malinga’s spell not only rattled the Delhi batsmen, but also ensured a comprehensive victory for the Indians by eight wickets. His lethal yorkers and subtle change in pace was too hot to handle for the home team.
Malinga struck first blood by castling David Warner, which was succeeded by an ugly heave by Unmukt Chand that sent the middle stump for a toss. He came back in his second spell to get rid of a set Venugopal Rao and later ran through the tail to skit their opposition out for 95 runs.
#4 Ishant Sharma - 5/12 vs Kochi Tuskers Kerala - 2011
After a shoddy display of batting, barring Kumar Sangakkara, Deccan Chargers folded for a paltry 129 runs at the Nehru Stadium in Kochi. With the likes of Brendon McCullum, Mahela Jayawardena and Brad Hodge in the opposition’s batting line-up, the task of chasing down the target was no less than a doddle.
However, a tall, lanky and fiery pacer in Ishant Sharma changed the whole complexion of the game through some disciplined line and length. The spell dismantled the opposition within a blink of an eye and Kochi was reduced to 11/6 after the initial four overs of their innings.
Five of Kochi’s top six batsmen got out for ducks as Ishant tormented their batsmen to submission. Kochi’s lower order batting showed resilience, but Ishant’s spell was brutal enough to erase any chances of Kochi’s comeback.
#3 Anil Kumble - 5/5 vs Rajasthan Royals - 2009
By the end of 2008, Anil Kumble had already bid adieu to the international format of the game, but the zeal to perform whole-heartedly was yet to fade away from the great Indian leg-spinner. At the Newlands in Cape Town, the masterful bowler ripped the heart of the Rajasthan Royals batting through a majestic spell of 5/5 in just over three overs.
Rajasthan Royals lost early wickets, but with the target not being a hefty one, they weren’t quite out of contention for a victory. Nevertheless, Jumbo had other ideas and in the space of 24 balls, he took the sting out of the Royals’ batting by reducing them from 47/5 to 58 all out.
The Royals were shot out for 58 runs, which, even after eight years of the prestigious league, is recorded as the lowest team score in the IPL.
#2 Adam Zampa - 6/19 vs Sunrisers Hyderabad - 2016
Wrist spinners are assets for any side and can be challenging for any opposition to counter. If mastered, it’s more than a handy weapon in the repertoire, especially in the shorter versions of the game. Adam Zampa, precisely exemplified the fact through a spell where he not only pulled back the runs, but also scalped one wicket after the after.
In the thrilling encounter, contested between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rising Pune Supergiants, Zampa stole the show by picking up the second ever six-wicket haul in the IPL. The eventual champions of IPL 2016 had little clue about the Australian’s guile and trajectory.
Meanwhile, the Aussie leg-spinner was registered on top of the list of the best bowling spells by a spinner in the IPL. Albeit, Pune was unable to come out trumps in the contest, Zampa was crowned with the Man-of-the-Match award.
#1 Sohail Tanvir - 6/14 vs Chennai Super Kings - 2008
Sohail Tanvir was the holder of the purple cap in the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League, backed by some brilliant bowling throughout the entire length of the tournament. With prodigious swing, unplayable toe-crushers and a precarious action, Tanvir was impossible to get away.
Chennai Super Kings had to wince through his wrath as the Pakistan pacer stormed to the best ever bowling figures in the Indian domestic extravaganza. In a round-robin match between CSK and the Royals, Tanvir dented Chennai’s hope with a flurry of wickets.
He removed the top three within the power-plays, setting the cat among the pigeons in the Chennai dugout. The left-arm pacer returned during the slog overs, first to castle an ominous looking Albie Morkel and then drilled the final nails in the coffin of CSK’s batting by running through the tail to dismiss CSK for 108.