Many fans of the game still consider T20 cricket a nightmare for bowlers. The T20 format allows batsmen to take risks from ball one. Unlike Tests and ODIs, the technique is not the focal point in T20s. Quite a few batsmen who failed in the longer formats became successful in T20s.
The hard-hitting power and ability to play unconventional shots have been the key strengths of batsmen in T20 cricket. Initially, the bowlers struggled to keep the batsmen under control. However, introducing variations in their skillset has eventually helped the bowlers dominate the T20 arena.
While a lot depends on the pitch in cricket, some bowlers have proved that they can keep a check on the flow of runs with their variations even if the wicket is flat. Generally, if a bowler concedes less than 30 runs in his 4-over spell, it is considered a good spell.
Only three bowlers have conceded less than ten runs in their 4-over spells five or more times
It is challenging for any bowler to maintain an economy rate of less than three or four runs per over in T20 cricket. However, many bowlers have achieved the feat of giving away less than ten runs in their 4-over spells. Here's a look at the three bowlers who have accomplished this herculean task the most times in T20 cricket.
3. Rashid Khan - 5 times
Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan is currently playing for the Lahore Qalandars in Pakistan Super League 2021. He bowled a magnificent spell of 1/9 against Islamabad United at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Wednesday (June 9).
That spell marked the fifth occasion in Rashid's T20 career that the leg-spinner completed his 4-over spell conceding less than ten runs. Khan has played T20 cricket all over the world. And yet, batsmen struggle to pick his deliveries.
The 22-year-old has achieved this unique feat once in his IPL career. During an IPL 2020 fixture against the Delhi Capitals at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Rashid Khan returned with figures of 3/7 in his four overs.
2. Samuel Badree - 7 times
Another leg-spinner to feature on this list is West Indies' T20 specialist Samuel Badree. The 40-year-old has represented the Men in Maroon in 52 T20 international matches.
Badree's USP has been his ability to trouble the batsmen in the powerplay and the slog overs. The right-arm leg-spinner always conceded ten or more runs whenever he bowled a 4-over spell for West Indies in T20Is.
However, in his domestic T20 career, he bowled seven such 4-over spells where the opposition batsmen could not aggregate even ten runs.
One of Badree's most memorable spells came during IPL 2017 against the Mumbai Indians at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, the Caribbean player returned with figures of 4/9 in his four overs, including a hat-trick. Unfortunately, RCB still lost that game.
1. Sunil Narine - 12 times
Sunil Narine is the only bowler in T20 cricket history to have bowled more than ten 4-over spells where he ended up conceding less than ten runs. Interestingly, none of them have come in the IPL or T20 internationals.
Narine is no longer a regular fixture in the West Indies T20I team, but the Trinidadian has done exceptionally well in franchise cricket. He has played in almost every T20 league in the world. He bowled T20 cricket's first maiden Super Over.
Although Narine's bowling action has come under the scanner on multiple occasions, he has dwarfed all other bowlers when it comes to conceding less than ten runs in 4-over spells. It will be exciting to see if any bowler can break Narine's record.