T20 cricket, since it arrived on the scene, has been considered the graveyard for bowlers. Part of it is due to the era in which it is formulated. Due to huge improvement in cricketing gear and broad bats along with batsmen becoming more fearless and boundary lines constantly shrinking, bowlers have nowhere to hide. Add to it the batsman-friendly cricket pitches and the agony for the bowlers is complete.
However with bat dominating the ball, there are some bowlers who developed skills and not a small amount of bravery to counter the unfair advantages enjoyed by batsmen. In a tournament like IPL, where buying a wicket is more of a trend and an economy of even 9 is considered good if you’ve managed a couple of wickets, bowlers with an economy under 7 are like gold dust. Let’s take a look at 5 such bowlers in the IPL who have bamboozled the batsmen with their skills and still have not gone for runs.
- Rashid Khan
Before Rashid Khan came into the scene, it was widely argued that the art of leg-spin, at least in the limited-overs format, was dying fast. After the departure of Shane Warne and Anil Kumble, no team possessed any potent leg-spin threat, leave alone a genuine match-winning leg spinner. Rashid Khan changed all that and how!
When he was bought at the exponential price of Rs.4 crore by Sunrisers Hyderabad before the 2017 IPL, it was considered to be a very bold move. However, his performances that year laid to rest any doubts one had over his prowess.
High speed and a great wrong ‘un are Rashid’s weapons and despite playing 3 seasons of IPL, he remains an enigma, which explains his consistent returns in every edition of IPL. He claimed 17 wickets in 14 and 15 matches respectively in the 2017 and 2019 editions, and 21 wickets in the 2018 edition in 17 matches. If we talk about the economy rate, Rashid enjoys consistent economy rates of under 7 across 3 seasons – 6.62 in 2017, 6.73 in 2018 and 6.28 in 2019 with a combined economy rate of 6.55, which is phenomenal.
- Anil Kumble
It is a testament to the legend of Kumble that despite the IPL coming at the twilight of his career, his economy rate is as good as any. In fact, he is the second most economical bowler in the IPL just behind Rashid Khan.
The record Kumble possesses in the IPL becomes more applaud-worthy when we take into consideration the team he was a part of – Royal Challengers Bangalore, one of the worst-ranked team in the competition. Yet, it was he who almost won the team an IPL trophy in 2009 in South Africa. It was an exemplary tournament for him as he took 21 wickets in 16 games at a strike rate of 16.90 and a scarcely believable economy rate of 5.86!
All in all, his economy rate was under 7 in all the editions he played (2008-2010) barring the inaugural one with a career economy of 6.57, making him one of the most economical bowlers in the IPL.
- Sunil Narine
Like Rashid Khan, Sunil Narine is an enigma. However, the mystery surrounding his skills are more breathtaking when we realize that he has been plying his trade in IPL since 2012 and remained more or less equally effective. In recent editions of IPL, he also has added an additional pinch-hitting skill to his repertoire, making him an automatic choice in the playing XI.
If we talk about Narine’s economy, it is revealed that he has become relatively more expensive with every passing year. In his starting years, Narine boasted of an economy under 6, a revelation on all accounts. The last 2 editions, however, were expensive by his standards, but still, he managed to maintain an economy rate of less than 8. But it’s his career economy rate (6.67) that makes him a T20 bowling legend and one of the most economical bowlers IPL has ever seen.
- Ravichandran Ashwin
Many of you may be shocked by the inclusion of Ashwin in this list, considering he made his name by bowling the powerplay overs for MS Dhoni in Chennai Super Kings, he is a very skillful bowler who fools the batsmen with his numerous variations.
If we talk about his economy rate and remove his first year stats (economy of 3.25 but played only 2 matches), his best year was 2015, where he took 10 wickets at an economy rate of 5.84. However, to his credit, he has limited his economy to under 7 in 6 of the 10 editions and 139 matches he played, making his overall economy rate of 6.79 one of the best in the IPL.
- Dale Steyn
Steyn is one of the most feared pacers in the history of the game and the IPL is no exception. Unlike other pacers operating in IPL who rely mostly on variations over speed, Steyn used his pace as the main weapon to neutralize the batsmen over the course of his 72 games & 10 editions in IPL.
2013 was his best year in terms of economy rate, at a time when he was at his peak. He picked 19 wickets in 17 matches at an economy of 5.66 and a strike rate of 21.42. In addition, he has maintained an economy of under 7 in 6 of the 10 editions of the IPL he played. The recent IPL years haven’t been kind to him due to various fitness issues, but his overall economy of 6.76 makes him a force to reckon with in T20s.