There is no doubt that T20 cricket is a batsman’s game. The punches down the ground, the crunching cover drives, the hits over the ropes – fans throng the stadiums to watch bowlers being taken to the cleaners. The Indian Premier League is no different.
Everyone talks about how many runs will be scored on a given day at the IPL, how many sixes can hit, how many batting records can be broken. However, time and again, bowlers have shown that they are also there to perform and show their mettle in the league.
Here, we list out the five best bowling figures in the history of the Indian Premier League.
1) Alzarri Joseph (Mumbai Indians) – 6/12 vs Sunrisers Hyderabad
Not many outside of the Caribbean would have heard the name Alzarri Joseph when IPL 2019 started. On April 6, 2019, Joseph made sure everyone had heard and made a note of his name and talent. On debut against a rampaging Sunrisers Hyderabad side, defending a low 137-run target, Joseph shone and how. He picked up 6 wickets for just 12 runs to bundle the SRH side for 97 and, in the process, recorded the best-ever figures in IPL history. Joseph picked a wicket off his very first ball, and that too of the SRH captain, David Warner. He then sent beat Vijay Shankar, Deepak Hooda, and Rashid Khan with pace before wrapping up the SRH innings with the wickets of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Siddarth Kaul.
Joseph had made it to the top of the pile for the best bowling figures in IPL, a record that he holds to date. His final figures read 3.4-1-12-6, a feat unheard of in T20 cricket.
2) Sohail Tanvir (Rajasthan Royals) – 6/14 vs Chennai Super Kings
Before Joseph took the top spot on this list, Pakistan’s Sohail Tanvir had held the record for the best bowling figures in the IPL for the longest time. In the first season of the league, Tanvir put up a bowling performance par excellence against CSK returning figures of 6/14 in his four overs.
Tanvir picked a wicket off his very first ball, that of Parthiv Patel, before sending back Stephen Fleming four balls later. In his second over, he removed Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan and, after a brief break, sent back Albie Morkel and Muttiah Muralitharan in quick succession. His sixth wicket came in. the form of Makhaya Ntini. At the time, Tanvir’s figures of 6/14 were the best-ever in all of T20 cricket. In the IPL, the record stood for 11 years before finally being broken by Joseph in 2019. Tanvir’s spell is widely regarded as one of the finest ever in IPL history.
Also read: Who is the king of IPL?
3) Adam Zampa (Rising Pune Supergiant) – 6/19 vs Sunrisers Hyderabad
The third name on this list of the best bowling figures in IPL is Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa. The leggie does not quite spin the ball as prodigiously as some of his other counterparts, but Zampa has proven to be a handful with his variations. Sunrisers Hyderabad found it the hard way in IPL 2016. Visakhapatnam has often been known for a surface that offers spin. Fielding first, MS Dhoni, the Rising Pune Supergiant captain, quickly handed the ball over to his spinners, and R Ashwin and Zampa immediately found themselves among the wickets.
Zampa first struck with the wicket of Yuvraj Singh, and in his very next over, he dismissed the set Kane Williamson and Moises Henriques off consecutive deliveries to set SRH back. Then in the final over of the innings, Zampa picked three wickets, of Deepak Hooda, Naman Ojha, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He finished with exceptional figures of 6/19 off his four overs. However, his spell was not enough to give Pune a win as they fell short by 4 runs.
4) Anil Kumble (Royal Challengers Bangalore) – 5/5 vs Rajasthan Royals
Anil Kumble held the Indian record for the best-ever figures in an ODI match for a long time. It comes as no surprise that he had a similar record in the IPL. In the second season of the IPL, Kumble brought out all his experience to humble Rajasthan Royals in a massive manner.
Batting first, RCB were restricted to 133/8, mostly riding on Kevin Pietersen and Rahul Dravid. Rajasthan would have harboured hopes of a win, but Kumble destroyed that in minutes. He first dismissed Yusuf Pathan and Ravindra Jadeja off consecutive balls to derail Rajasthan completely before sending back Shane Warne and Munaf Patel in the same over. Kumble then finished off the innings with the wicket of Kamran Khan as Rajasthan were shot down for 58.
Kumble returned exceptions figures of 3.1 -1-5-5.
5) Ishant Sharma (Deccan Chargers) – 5/12 vs Kochi Tuskers Kerala
The final name on this list is that of Ishant Sharma, who obliterated Kochi Tuskers Kerala in a spell that few will forget. Sharma has always been a hostile bowler, but there are very few better bowlers than the lanky pacer in world cricket when in song.
Defending a meagre target of 130, Deccan Chargers would have hoped for one of their pacers to step up. Sharma did and how! He took out Parthiv Patel, Raiphi Gomez, and Brad Hodge in the same over to reduce Kochi to 2/4. He then returned in his next over to remove Kedar Jadhav and Mahela Jayawardene as Kochi were reduced to 11/6. Their batsmen had no clue what hit them, and Sharma proved unplayable.
IPL 2021, too, saw the bowlers bring out their A-game. Who do you think will break Alzarri Joseph’s record of the best bowling figures in the IPL?
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