The IPL's finest bowling performances

The usual suspects — Ashwin, Malinga, Steyn, Muralitharan — and one surprise entry.

By Jaideep Varma and Jatin Thakkar

The following is a look at the finest bowling feats in the four completed years of IPL so far.

Ravichandran Ashwin – the highest Economy IMPACT bowler in IPL and the one with the lowest bowling failure rates (i.e. the most consistent). Tournament-defining big match player for CSK.

Doug Bollinger - highest impact IPL bowler in taking quick successive wickets and building pressure. Amongst the highest impact bowlers in taking top-order wickets and economy too. Big match player for CSK.

Amit Mishra – high impact bowler when it comes to taking wickets, breaking partnerships and building pressure. Low failure rate, so amongst the most consistent too.

Lasith Malinga – highest impact bowler in IPL history when it comes to taking lower-order wickets. Amongst the highest when it comes to top and middle-order wickets too. 3rd highest Economy IMPACT in IPL history. Very consistent.

Muttiah Muralitharan – his strength in T20 cricket has been economy, as he is no. 2 on Economy IMPACT in IPL history. Despite not being a major wicket-taker in this format, he has amongst the lowest bowling failure rates.

Harmeet Singh – highest Wickets Tally IMPACT in IPL history (proportion of wickets taken vis-à-vis number of matches played) – a big surprise no doubt. High impact in breaking partnerships and building pressure. A tournament-defining player for DC in 2009.

Dale Steyn – high impact bowler in breaking partnerships and building pressure. Interestingly, he has a higher impact when it comes to economy and consistency than taking wickets in T20 cricket.

Daniel Vettori – has amongst the highest Economy IMPACT numbers in the IPL. Low on Wickets Tally IMPACT though, but high on consistency despite that (much like Muralitharan). 

Rahul Sharma – high Economy IMPACT and consistency. Amongst IPL’s most effective partnership-breaking bowlers.

5 Highest Impact IPL Bowling performances

(Tournament Context):

These performances are high impact for the timing of the performances – they all came in a knock-out game with the bowler’s team going on to win the tournament – in other words, these are all tournament-defining performances in varying degrees (some semis, some finals).

1) DE Bollinger — 4 for 13 in 4 overs v Deccan Chargers  in Mumbai, 2010 – Bowling IMPACT 7.48

Defending a modest score of 142 in the 2010 semi-final, Bollinger took wickets at two crucial moments (at the start of the innings, and at 103-6) – to comprehensively swing the match for CSK.

2) R Ashwin — 3 for16 in 4 overs v Royal Challengers Bangalore  in Chennai, 2011 – Bowling IMPACT 6.40

In the 2011 final, CSK put up a formidable 205, and then made Ashwin open the bowling – who got both openers, including Chris Gayle – which pretty much ended the match there and then, as things stood last year with RCB. His insane Economy IMPACT was also complemented by the wicket of the RCB captain later, which had become a formality of a match anyway by then.

3) SR Watson — 3 for10 in 3 overs v Delhi Daredevils  in Mumbai, 2008 – Bowling IMPACT 5.72

The 2008 IPL semi-final – Watson top-scored with 52 in RR’s score of 192. Then, as DD braced themselves for a good start from their top-heavy batting side, Watson removed Sehwag, Gambhir and Dhawan in his first 3 overs, and pretty much stopped DD in their tracks.

4) MM Patel — 3 for 17 in 4 overs v Delhi Daredevils  in Mumbai, 2008 – Bowling IMPACT 5.22

The same match as above. After Watson’s blitzkrieg, Munaf Patel followed it up with a tight performance which torpedoed DD comprehensively. They were knocked out for 87, giving RR an unexpectedly massive win.

5) YK Pathan — 3 for 22  in 4  overs v Chennai Super Kings  in Mumbai, 2008 – Bowling IMPACT 5.19

After Watson, it was the turn of Yousuf Pathan to announce his arrival in the big league with a top-class all-round performance in the 2008 final. His bowling played a big role in reducing CSK to 163 on a pitch where that was perhaps a dozen runs short at least. Pathan would be the highest scorer with 56 too as RR won dramatically off the last ball.

5 Highest Impact IPL Bowling performances

(Match Context):

These memorable performances are only within a match context - only one of these performances came for a team that won the IPL that year – the first one on this list.

1) Sohail Tanvir — 6 for 14  in 4 overs v Chennai Super Kings  in Jaipur, 2008 – Bowling IMPACT 8.75

It is very rare for bowlers to dominate as much in a T20 game. Playing the team they would meet in the final that year, RR destroyed CSK’s top-order, thanks to an inspired spell by Tanvir. Every time he came on here, he took wickets. CSK’s 109 were easy pickings for RR that day.

2) BJ Hodge — 4 for 13 in 4 overs v Rajasthan Royals  in Indore, 2011 – Bowling IMPACT

Brad Hodge came onto bowl in the middle-overs of RR’s innings (when they were sixty-plus for 4) and proceeded to devastate the innings – as RR folded up for 98. Kochi won easily, and their highest scorer was …Brad Hodge, who made 33 in 17 balls. A pretty good day for him.

3) PP Chawla — 4 for 17 in 4 overs v Royal Challengers Bangalore in Dharamsala, 2011 – Bowling IMPACT 8.12

KXIP had been enormously boosted by a quintessential Gilchrist blinder (106 off 55) as they mustered up 232 to defend. Piyush Chawla was the emphatic beneficiary of the situation – as he polished off RCB’s hapless line-up in a hopeless cause with some panache.

4) A Mishra — 5 for 17 in 4 overs v Deccan Chargers in Delhi, 2008 – Bowling IMPACT 8.03

Like the match above, Amit Mishra was the beneficiary of a massive DD score of 194 to defend – on a very good batting pitch though. Mishra’s hallmark right through the innings was his measliness. DC batted well enough – needing 15 in the last over to win, Mishra to bowl. DC scored 2 in the over, 1 less than the wickets Mishra took – in a hat-trick.

5) MM Patel — 5 for 21 in 4 overs v Kings XI Punjab in Mohali, 2011 – Bowling IMPACT 11.36

It is very rare that a bowler takes 5-21 in 4 overs and ends up in the losing side. Patel’s performance assumes extraordinary proportions when you consider that the opposition scored 163 and won by 76 runs.

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