With the Indian Premier League knocking at the door, the cricketing world is set to witness the grandest domestic T20 league kickstart its 12th edition on 23rd March. In more than a decade of exhilarating and enthralling cricket, IPL has given us countless moments of joy and agony.
This season can serve as a preparation drill for all the international players ahead of the ICC World Cup. In fact, this is the first instance that IPL is going to be played before the 50 over World Cup, so the hype is real.
Bowlers have always been the backbone of any cricket team, and economical bowling is worth its weigh in diamond when it comes to the T20 format. Bowling in T20 cricket is not only about picking up wickets, but bowling dot balls are also as crucial the batting side succumbs to pressure.
There have been many exceptional bowlers who hogged the limelight with their skillful bowling. From Lasith Malinga to Shane Warne and from Shoaib Akhtar to Brett Lee, various world-class bowlers have taken center stage in the biggest cricket carnival. Therefore now we are about to discuss the most economical bowlers in the history of the IPL, with a minimum of 30 innings.
Some honorable mentions are:
Glenn McGrath (6.61) in 14 innings, Lasith Malinga (6.86) in 110 innings, Daniel Vettori (6.78) in 34 innings and Ravichandran Ashwin (6.73) in 122 innings
#5 Dale Steyn - 6.72 in 90 innings
Dale Steyn is one of the most talented and aggressive bowlers of this era. In spite of a career hindered with injuries, he will go down as one of the best fast bowlers of all time. His blistering pace and sublime swing bowling have haunted many world-class batsmen for years.
The Protean has played for four teams in his IPL career, Royal Challenger Bangalore (2008-10), Deccan Chargers (2010-12), Sunrisers Hyderabad (2013-15) and Gujarat Lions (2016).
Bowling in powerplay is no easy feat by any means, but Steyn used to restrict the batting lineups along with picking wickets upfront. He has 92 dismissals to his name in his 90 IPL matches at an economy rate of 6.72.
#4 Rashid Khan - 6.68 in 31 innings
Rashid Khan has become a household name all over the world after the leggie made a sensational entry in the international circuit. This Afghanistan prodigy has proved himself over and over again all over the globe as he plays for many franchises. His quicker delivery which skids off the surface is a potent threat to any batsman.
Rashid has this uncanny knack of picking wickets at regular intervals. Not only that, but he is also the fifth most economical bowler in IPL history.
The 20-year-old has played 31 IPL matches in which he has managed 38 scalps to his name with the economy rate of 6.68. He also has the best bowling strike rate of 19.26 among the top five bowlers in this list.
#3 Muttiah Muralitharan - 6.67 in 66 innings
Muttiah Muralitharan has the world record of most number of Test wickets (800) to his name. The Sri Lankan legend was not an easy bowler to either hit or defend because of his unusual action. He has destroyed many batting greats with his unconventional off-spin bowling.
In the IPL too, his impact was immense as the batsmen found it difficult to read the ball from his hand. The veteran has represented three franchises - Chennai Super Kings (2008-10), Kochi Tuskers Kerala (2011) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (2012-14) in the IPL.
He was one of those bowlers who could contain runs in the crucial middle bowlers when there were no fielding restrictions. Muralitharan picked 63 wickets in his 66 IPL innings at an economy rate of 6.67.
#2 Anil Kumble - 6.57 in 42 innings
Anil Kumble led his home team, Royal Challengers Bangalore to the finals in the next season before retiring from the IPL in 2010. ‘Jumbo’ was a street-smart bowler who used to generate extra bounce off the surface with his awkward over the arm action.
The former Indian Test captain was one of the first few spinners who started to bowl in the powerplays during the IPL. He outsmarted various talented batsmen with his accurate and precise bowling and made sure to contain runs if he couldn’t get any wickets.
Kumble has played 42 matches in his IPL career all with the Royal Challengers Bangalore. He ended up with 45 wickets at an astonishing economy rate of 6.57.
#1 Sunil Narine - 6.53 in 97 innings
Sunil Narine is an extremely talented cricketer who has the ability to win matches singlehandedly for his team. A potential match winner, the Trinidadian has tremendous all-round skills which makes him a valuable asset for any T20 franchise.
Kolkata Knight Riders bought Sunil Narine in 2012 as an excellent off spinning bowling option. Under the leadership of Gautam Gambhir, he helped his team to IPL glory in the very first season followed by another successful season in 2014. The 30-year-old was also declared the ‘Most Valuable Player’ in the last IPL on the back of some consistent all-round performances.
Narine has been an integral part of the squad ever since his debut. In the process, he has taken 112 wickets in 97 IPL innings at an incredible economy rate of 6.53.