IPL has always been a batsman's paradise, but time and again we have been reminded that bowlers can emerge as match-winners too. This year was no different as bowlers from every side won matches for their teams. Indian bowlers like Shreyas Gopal, Ankit Rajpoot and Kuldeep Yadav rose to the fore and gave a glimpse of how important they are to their teams. There were some stellar performances from Andrew Tye and Lungi Ngidi too.
Cricketnext takes a look at the top five bowling performances from the recently concluded IPL:
1) Ankit Rajpoot (KXIP) vs Sunrisers Hyderabad – 5/14 in 4 overs in Hyderabad
The Sunrisers Hyderabad have been in some scintillating form through the IPL, with their bowling and batting departments both flexing their muscles at will. The Kane Williamson and Shikhar Dhawan led batting line up have the firepower to take apart any bowling unit. But on April 26th, against the Kings XI Punjab, they met their match in Ankit Rajpoot who bowled 17 dot balls out of his 24 legal deliveries and gave away only 14 runs. What’s more, the top order including the likes of Dhawan, Williamson, Wriddhiman Saha and Manish Pandey all fell prey to his wise bowling tactics. His fifth victim was Mohammad Nabi. Rajpoot is the only bowler to have taken five wicket haul in the league stages.
2) Lungi Ngidi (CSK) vs Kings XI Punjab – 4/10 in 4 overs in Pune
Lungi Ngidi broke onto the scene against India during the Test series in South Africa and since has been identified as one of the more dangerous fast bowlers in world cricket. Once he got his chance with the MS Dhoni-led CSK side, the young man grabbed it with both hands. His best performance in his debut season in the IPL came against the KXIP, who needed to win big against CSK to qualify for the play-offs. The South African opened the bowling and promptly removed the dangerous KL Rahul and Chris Gayle before taking the wickets of R Ashwin and Andrew Tye later on the innings to derail KXIP’s hopes of a big score. In his spell, Ngidi bowled 16 dot balls, which means he conceded 10 runs of eight balls.
3) Andrew Tye (KXIP) vs Mumbai Indians – 4/16 in 4 overs in Mumbai
Just a week after the Australian Andrew Tye had lost his grandmother, he put the brakes efficiently on an otherwise high scoring Mumbai Indians batting line-up. The hosts looked in the mood to score big, but Tye had other plans. Bowling first change, he sent the top order of Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis and Ishan Kishan back to the hut before the end of the powerplay. Tye wasn’t done with that as he dismissed the dangerous all-rounder Hardik Pandya in the 15th over to complete a successful spell. Tye, the lone warrior as a bowler for KXIP, bowled 15 dot balls in his spell as Mumbai were restricted to below 200.
4) Shreyas Gopal (RR) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore – 4/16 in 4 overs in Jaipur
Both Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore had their season on the line, with the visitors led by Virat Kohli in dire need of a win. Captain Kohli tried to lead the charge from the front but Gopal spun a web around the likes of Parthiv Patel, AB de Villiers, Moeen Ali and Mandeep Singh to break the very backbone of the RCB batting line-up. Gopal bowled 10 dot balls out of 24 and single-handedly ensured the RCB chase would not take off, thus giving his team a Royal boost in the race for the final four spots.
5) Kuldeep Yadav (KKR) vs Rajasthan Royals – 4/20 in Kolkata
The Rajasthan Royals had their backs to the wall and were looking to take the game away right from the start as they began with a flurry of boundaries at the Eden Gardens. KKR, like their opponents were in a must win situation and soon enough Dinesh Karthik turned to Kuldeep Yadav as the rest found the going tough. Yadav, who is known to cause the batsmen trouble took a wicket in all his overs with the danger men Ajinkya Rahane, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes all back in the hut along with Stuart Binny. Kuldeep’s four wickets not only put the brakes on Rajasthan but helped lay the platform for KKR to build on towards the win.