When you have only 20 overs to bat, every over and every ball becomes important. Every single over represents 5% of your total resources. Not scoring from one over means you will be utilizing only 95% of the allotted resources. Thus bowling a maiden over in T20 cricket is tougher than any other format.
At the Indian Premier League, we have the best of the bests competing against each other. In such conditions, bowling six dot balls in a row is no mean feat. In an IPL season, more fifties are scored than the number of maiden overs bowled.
The best chance of bowling a maiden is in the opening overs when the batsmen may not take too many risks and try to consolidate. The top seven in the all-time list of bowling most maidens in the IPL are all fast bowlers.
Spinners languish at the bottom. Here is the countdown of eleven bowlers who have bowled the most maiden overs in the IPL.
All Stats courtesy: iplt20.com
#11 Zaheer Khan (5 maidens)
When the IPL started in 2008, Zaheer Khan was the most popular fast bowler in Indian cricket. The left-arm pacer had re-invented himself with county cricket experience in 2006. Royal Challengers Bangalore secured Zaheer’s services for $4,50,000. He bowled the first-ever ball of the IPL.
Zaheer joined his home franchise, Mumbai Indians, in the following season. After two years, he returned to RCB for the next three years. The bowler then ultimately settled down with the Delhi franchise. In his 100-match IPL career, Zaheer Khan finished with 102 wickets and five maidens from 366.4 overs.
#10 Munaf Patel (5 maidens)
The bowler from Gujarat first hogged the limelight for his breakthrough pace. Munaf soon enrolled in the MRF Pace academy where he impressed his mentors. Patel earned India debut and became a metronome who was renowned for his consistency more than his pace.
Munaf’s precision proved immensely useful in T20 cricket where he could choke the opposition by withholding runs. The bowler spent his first three years in the IPL at Rajasthan Royals and later shifted to the Mumbai Indians for three seasons.
With a final stint with the Gujarat Lions, Munaf completed 225.5 overs with five maidens in 63 IPL matches.
#9 Harbhajan Singh (5 maidens)
The Punjabi off-spinner had become synonymous with the Mumbai Indians franchise in the IPL. He represented the Ambani-owned team for ten consecutive years. It was only in 2018 that he first switched the teams and joined the Chennai Super Kings.
In 149 IPL matches, Harbhajan Singh has claimed 134 wickets. He delivered 516.2 overs in eleven seasons, and five of those were maiden overs. Impressively, his economy rate is just around seven.
#8 Amit Mishra (6 maidens)
T20 cricket brought a new lease of life for the spinners and especially leg-spinners. The wristy magicians have been dominant in all the T20 leagues and Amit Mishra leads the way in the IPL. In 136 matches, Mishra has dismissed 146 batsmen. He is also the only bowler to have taken three hat-tricks in the tournament.
It is far challenging for a leg-spinner to bowl a maiden, but Mishra has managed to bowl a maiden over on six occasions in the IPL. No other spinner has bowled more maiden overs than him. The leggie has represented Delhi Daredevils, Deccan Chargers and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
#7 Bhuvneshwar Kumar (7 maidens)
In recent years, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has evolved as India’s leading death overs specialist in T20 cricket. Years of IPL has turned into him a world-class bowler. He leads the bowling unit of the Sunrisers Hyderabad, a team that relies on its bowlers to win the matches for them.
Before arriving at SRH in 2014, Bhuvneshwar represented Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sahara Pune Warriors. This two-times Purple cap winner in successive years has bowled 376.2 overs in the IPL of which seven have been maidens. Bhuvi has 120 wickets from a total of 102 matches.
#6 Dale Steyn (7 maidens)
The South African fast bowler was immensely popular when the IPL was in its formative stage. Steyn was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2008 and he continued playing for them till 2010. He was then at his lethal best while representing Deccan Chargers.
Steyn had a phenomenal season in 2013 for Sunrisers Hyderabad where he snared 19 wickets from 17 matches while conceding at only 5.66 runs per over. Later, his injuries caught up with him and we have not seen him in action since IPL 2016. Steyn has bowled seven maiden overs in 343 overs delivered in 90 matches.
#5 Dhawal Kulkarni (7 maidens)
Dhawal Kulkarni is a stalwart for Mumbai in domestic cricket. In the IPL, he has been with Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals and Gujarat Lions.
He has been playing the tournament since the inception year. Dhawal’s most successful year in the IPL was 2016 where playing for Gujarat Lions, he picked up 18 wickets from 14 matches.
While Kulkarni has often been touted as an expensive bowler, he is right up there in the list of bowlers with most maidens. In 252.5 overs bowled in 80 matches, Kulkarni has 79 scalps with seven maiden overs.
#4 Sandeep Sharma (8 maidens)
The 25-year old Punjabi bowler has been extremely effective in the IPL. Sandeep Sharma was a part of the Under-19 team that won the 2012 World Cup.
Sharma on his IPL debut for Kings XI Punjab registered the figures of 3/21 against his future team, Sunrisers Hyderabad. He represented KXIP from 2013 to 2017 before being purchased by SRH in 2018.
In Sandeep’s short career of 68 IPL matches, he has delivered eight maiden overs. In the 248.1 overs that he bowled, Sharma has succeeded in dismissing 83 batsmen. He has plenty of cricket left in front of him.
#3 Lasith Malinga (8 maidens)
The legend of T20 bowling! Lasith Malinga is undoubtedly one of the finest bowlers in limited-overs cricket. His searing yorker delivered with the unique slinging action has bamboozled batsmen for years now. With 154 wickets in 110 matches, Malinga remains the most successful bowler in the IPL.
The Sri Lankan fast bowler first arrived at the IPL in 2009. He made his mark straightaway with 18 wickets in the debut season. Since then he has remained a permanent member of Mumbai Indians. After a year’s gap, he will be back for his IPL team in 2019. Malinga has bowled 426.2 overs with eight of them being maidens.
#2 Irfan Pathan (10 maidens)
Famous for the outrageous swing that he generated, Irfan Pathan was purchased by Kings XI Punjab in the inaugural season of the IPL. He was effective with both the bat and the ball.
Pathan shined in the first season with 15 wickets. After two more seasons with KXIP, Pathan represented Delhi Daredevils (2011-13), Sunrisers Hyderabad (2014), Chennai Super Kings (2015), Rising Pune Supergiants (2016) and Gujarat Lions (2017).
In these stints, Irfan Pathan has played a total of 103 matches where he has collected 80 wickets. Ten out of 340.3 overs bowled by him have been maidens. He is second on the all-time tally.
#1 Praveen Kumar (14 maidens)
Praveen Kumar was another bowler who managed to extract tremendous lateral movement from his deliveries. He could swing the new ball both ways and bowl with the persistent line and length.
Kumar was down on the pace hence he was mostly used up at the start of an inning. He began his IPL career in 2008 with Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Praveen Kumar played his first three seasons for RCB. He then represented Kings XI Punjab for the next three years. By 2014, he was out of favour and was called up for injury replacements only.
Yet in the 119 matches that he played, Kumar captured 90 wickets which included a hat-trick. In his 420.4 overs, 14 were maidens - most by any bowler in the IPL so far.