There is a widespread belief among many that the shortest format of the game is all about the batsmen and towering sixes, however, the truth is often quite different. Teams with excellent bowlers are often at a better position to win games since there are hitters in every side and teams which can actually contain the opponent's big hitters usually end up going a long way in any tournament.
Same has been the case in the Big Bash League in Australia as well and over the years, plenty of bowlers have delivered absolutely outstanding bowling spells that have changed the complexion of games in a matter of few overs. So, here is a look at 5 of the best bowling spells ever in the Big Bash League.
The list only considers spells prior to the start of the 2017-18 season.
#5 Sean Abbott 5-16 for Sydney Sixers v Adelaide Strikers
It is not often that a super spell like the one Australian fast bowler Sean Abbott bowled does not end up winning the game for one's side but that is exactly what happened in the Sydney Sixers v Adelaide Strikers game at Adelaide Oval last year. Abbott's Sydney Sixers elected to bowl first but it was not quite working out as the Strikers raced to 89 for 1 wicket in 9 overs.
Abbott was introduced in the 10th over and he struck off his 4th ball when Ben Dunk hit one straight to the cover fielder. His pace, discipline and variations proved too much for the Strikers batsmen, as he followed it up by removing Brad Hodge and Travis head off consecutive deliveries in his 2nd over.
That two over burst broke the back of the Strikers innings and made it one of the greatest spells of fast bowling in the history of the Big Bash. He returned at the death to pick up two more wickets.
#4 Samuel Badree 5-22 for Brisbane Heat v Melbourne Stars
After Brisbane Heat had put up 188 on the board, thanks to a sensational Chris Lynn blitz, everyone must have thought that the star-studded Melbourne Stars will give it a good go. However, Heat's star spinner Samuel Badree had other ideas.
He opened the bowling for Brisbane and his clever leg breaks killed the game off within the powerplay overs. The mayhem started early as Luke Wright played on to his stumps and was out off the 3rd ball of the innings. In his second over, he deceived Kevin Pietersen with a faster delivery and had him trapped in front.
Marcus Stoinis played a false shot, while Peter Handsomb was stumped after he completely misread the trajectory of the delivery and finally, Rob Quiney hit a ball straight to the fielder at mid-on. In the space of 16 deliveries, Badree ended the game and it remains one of the greatest spells of bowling in the history of the competition.
#3 Ish Sodhi 6-11 for Adelaide Strikers v Sydney Thunder
New Zealand's right arm leg-spinner has proven to be a very wily bowler to negotiate in limited overs cricket and in last season's clash between the Adelaide Strikers and Sydney Thunder, he showed exactly why he is held in high regard in the shorter formats of the game. After the Strikers had made 178, the Thunder were placed reasonably well at 79 for 3 in the 11th over but it all changed in Sodhi's second over.
He had been the last bowler to be introduced into the attack but he completely bamboozled the Thunder batsmen as they fell to him for fun. He bowled Ben Rohrer off the 4th delivery of his 2nd over and then in the space of the next 11 deliveries, he picked up 5 more wickets to send the Sydney Thunder crashing to 101 all out in 15.3 overs. It remains the 2nd best bowling figures in the history of the competition.
#2 Mitchell Johnson 3-3 for Perth Scorchers v Melbourne Stars
Mitchell Johnson might have retired from international cricket in 2015 but he bowled the Perth Scorchers to victory in last season's semi-final against the Melbourne Stars. Big games need big performances from big players and Johnson delivered it after the Scorchers decided to field first.
Johnson bowled with blistering pace and sent back the openers to the pavilion in his very first over. The first wicket (Rob Quiney) came off the 1st ball of the match and Luke Wright went off the fourth ball. Johnson's first over was a maiden and the second over went for a maiden as well, as the Stars batsmen had no idea how to negotiate his hostility.
In his third over, he got the wicket of Kevin Pietersen and the game was pretty much over. His figures read 4-2-3-3 and remain the most economical bowling figures in the history of the competition.
#1 Lasith Malinga 6-7 for Melbourne Stars v Perth Scorchers
Lasith Malinga is probably the greatest limited overs bowler of the past decade or so and back in the 2012-13 season of the Big Bash, he delivered the greatest spell in the tournament's history for the Melbourne Stars in a league game against the Perth Scorchers at Perth. After he had bowled a superb opening spell in which he took 2 wickets for 3 runs, Malinga completely destroyed the Scorchers in his second spell and that is the one that should be considered as the greatest spell bowled in the Big Bash League thus far.
Malinga came back into the attack in the 10th over and immediately fooled Hilton Cartwright with a slower ball, which he lobbed to the leg-side. In the same over, he trapped Nathan Coulter-Nile with another of his signature slower deliveries. His last over saw Scorchers wicket-keeper Tom Trifitt being trapped in front with a slower ball and then Joe Meanie had off stump knocked back with another slower delivery.
It was an exhibition of modern fast bowling and his second spell in which he took 4-4 to dismiss the Scorchers for 69 remains the Big Bash League's greatest ever spell.