The Indian Premier League (IPL) is the one of the most anticipated and lucrative T20 leagues in the cricket world. Since its inception, the T20 format was anticipated to be a batsman-dominated version of the game. The IPL hasn't been any different in this regard.
However, over the years, the bowlers have also left an indelible mark on the slam-bang version of the game. An analysis of the 12 seasons of the IPL shows that a well-balanced bowling attack is critical for a team's success, perhaps even more than a power-hitting batting line-up.
Lasith Malinga is the highest wicket-taker in the history of the IPL, with 170 scalps to his credit. From an Indian perspective, Amit Mishra is the most successful bowler in the competition, with the leg-spinner having 157 wickets against his name. Alzarri Joseph leads the pack when the best bowling performances in an IPL innings are considered. The West Indian had figures of 6/12 for Mumbai Indians (MI) against the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in last year's edition of the league.
On that note, let us have a look at the five best bowling performances by an Indian bowler in the IPL.
# 5 Amit Mishra - 5/17 (IPL 2008)
The Delhi Daredevils, now rechristened Delhi Capitals, took on the Deccan Chargers in Delhi on 15th May 2008 in the inaugural season of the IPL. The Chargers' captain Adam Gilchrist won the toss and elected to field first.
Chasing 195 for victory, Deccan Chargers were off to an explosive start. Despite losing Gilchrist on the first ball of the third over, Shahid Afridi and Herschelle Gibbs went on a rampage as the Chargers reached 71/1 at the end of the six overs of power-play.
Virender Sehwag, the Delhi captain, had no other option but to introduce Amit Mishra into the attack as soon as the power-play was over. The wily leg-spinner did not disappoint his skipper, having Afridi (33 off 14 balls) caught by AB de Villiers with his very first delivery.
Mishra then clean bowled Gibbs in his next over to alter the course of the match. At the end of his first spell of three overs, Mishra claimed two wickets while conceding only 15 runs.
Although the Chargers kept losing wickets at regular intervals, aggressive innings from Rohit Sharma (35 off 18 balls) and Venugopal Rao (34 off 18 balls) kept the team in the hunt. Mishra was reintroduced into the attack in the last over, with the Chargers needing 15 runs, and with four wickets in hand.
The leg-spinner put paid to any hopes of a win the Chargers may have harboured, claiming a hat-trick with his first three deliveries. Mishra first had Ravi Teja caught by Shoaib Malik, then had Pragyan Ojha caught by Tillakaratne Dilshan, before RP Singh was stumped by Dinesh Karthik as the Daredevils won by 12 runs.
Mishra claimed five wickets, conceding only 17 runs in a high-scoring encounter, as he was deservedly awarded the Man of the Match.
# 4 Ravindra Jadeja - 5/16 (IPL 2012)
The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) took on the Deccan Chargers in Visakhapatnam on 7th April 2012 in the 5th edition of the IPL. The Chargers' captain Cameron White won the toss and elected to field first.
In reply, the Chargers were off to a steady start, reaching 73/2 at the end of the tenth over. Jadeja was introduced into the attack in the 11th over and made an immediate impact, castling the left-handed Parthiv Patel with his third delivery.
The left-armer then clean bowled Bharat Chipli in his next over. The Saurashtra player was far from done for the day, though. Jadeja struck twice in his third over, first having Manpreet Gony caught by Suresh Raina, and then Ravi Teja stumped by MS Dhoni. With the last ball of his allotted quota, Jadeja trapped Dale Steyn plumb in front to finish with impressive figures of 5/16.
CSK went on to win the game by 74 runs, and Jadeja, unsurprisingly, was adjudged the Man of the Match for his all-round performance.
# 3 Ankit Rajpoot - 5/14 (IPL 2018)
Ankit Rajpoot made the best use of the favourable conditions, extracting swing and appreciable bounce from the pitch. In his first over, Rajpoot forced the SRH captain Kane Williamson to top-edge a pull shot to be easily caught by Ashwin.
The right-armer then had Shikhar Dhawan caught by Karun Nair at slip in his second over. Wriddhiman Saha tried to go for a wild slog to release the pressure, but was caught by Andrew Tye at mid-wicket off Rajpoot's penultimate over. The Uttar Pradesh pacer ended his first spell of three overs, accounting for three wickets, and conceding only nine runs.
Rajpoot was called on to bowl the last over of the SRH innings, who had reached 126/4 by that stage. The pacer bowled Manish Pandey (54) with an immaculate yorker before having Mohammad Nabi caught by Mayank Agarwal at long-off to complete his five-wicket haul.
Chasing 133 runs to win, KXIP were off to a good start, with KL Rahul and Chris Gayle scoring 55 runs for the first wicket before Rahul was dismissed in the eighth over. His dismissal triggered a collapse as KXIP were dismissed for 119 runs, to lose the game by 13 runs.
Even though Rajpoot's incisive spell went in vain, he was awarded the Man of the Match for his fabulous 5-wicket haul.
#2 Ishant Sharma - 5/12 (IPL 2011)
Deccan Chargers faced Kochi Tuskers Kerala (KTK) in Kochi on 27th April 2011 in the fourth edition of the IPL. KTK captain Mahela Jayawardene won the toss and elected to field first. On a slow pitch, the Chargers managed to score 129/7 in their allotted 20 overs, with only captain Kumar Sangakkara (65) and Cameron White (31) managing to reach double figures.
Early wickets are the key to defending a modest total, and it was exactly what the Chargers did on the day. After Dale Steyn dismissed Brendon McCullum for a duck, Ishant Sharma ran through the KTK top-order.
The Delhi pacer took three wickets in his opening over to set the cat among the pigeons. Sharma first had Parthiv Patel caught behind by Sangakkara and castled Raiphi Gomez with his next delivery. Even though he missed a hat-trick, the Delhi pacer disturbed the timber of Brad Hodge in the same over.
Sharma picked another couple of wickets in his next over, trapping Kedar Jadhav plumb in front, and then having Jayawardene nick one to Sangakkara. After just two overs, Sharma had claimed five wickets while conceding only six runs, reducing KTK to 11/6 in the bargain, and effectively ending the game as a contest.
Though the lanky pacer did not take any more wickets in the game, he had more than done his job for the day. KTK were eventually dismissed for 74 to lose the game convincingly by 55 runs. Sharma, undoubtedly, received the Man of the Match award for his devastating spell.
# 1 Anil Kumble - 5/5 (IPL 2009)
Following a disastrous start to their innings, RCB managed to scrape through to 133/8 in their allotted twenty overs. Rahul Dravid (66 off 48 balls) and Pietersen (32 off 30 balls) were the only two players to register double-figure scores for the Challengers.
Pursuing 134 for victory, RR were never in the game as they lost wickets in a heap. Praveen Kumar and Jesse Ryder took a couple of wickets apiece to provide the early breakthroughs. RR were then reduced to 28/5 when Dimitri Mascarenhas was run out by Virat Kohli.
It was then Anil Kumble's turn to complete the formalities. The leg-spinner ran through the rest of the RR unit. After going wicketless in his first over, Kumble had Yusuf Pathan caught by Ryder at long-off and had Jadeja caught by Kohli at deep mid-wicket.
Robin Uthappa then stumped Shane Warne in Kumble's third over before Steyn caught Munaf Patel at long-on. The Bangalore player then completed his five-wicket haul by having Kamral Akmal caught by Uthappa, to register stunning figures of 5/5, as RCB won by 75 runs.
Even though Dravid usurped him for the Man of the Match award, Kumble's bowling figures remain the best by an Indian bowler in the 12-year history of the IPL.