T20 is a game which is at times criticized for being too much supportive of batsmen rather than bowlers. With shorter boundaries, heavy bats and fielding restrictions, it has become quite difficult for bowlers to stay ahead of the batsmen and be a lethal force in winning the matches.
However, over the years bowlers have adapted to the new format of the game and devised new techniques to keep them useful for the team. Both spinners and pacers have been able to innovate and work their game according to the playing conditions and opposition players.
We have seen it numerous time when bowlers extract the minimalist support available from the playing conditions and capitalize on it. Let’s look at some of the performances in IPL history which won the matches for their teams.
Jaydev Unadkat – 5/25 vs DD (2013)
Unadkat became the costliest Indian in IPL 2018 auction with Rajasthan Royals paying Rs. 11.5 crores for his services. This has come after the bowler had a dream season in 2017 for Rising Pune Supergiants when he emerged as the second highest wicket-taker only after Bhuvneshwar Kumar of Sunrisers Hyderabad.
It was not his first time shot at fame, it all began in 2013 with Royal Challengers Bangalore when he bowled a fiery spell full of pace and aggression against Delhi Daredevils.
In the match, Unadkat not only removed both the openers upfront but also came back to finish the innings with a win for RCB. DD was spirited to chase down a mammoth total of 183 runs with just 19 needed off the last over. Unadkat paid the trust shown by his captain and took 5 wickets in the match to win the match by 4 runs for RCB. He was chosen as the Man of the Match as well.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar – 5/19 vs KXIP (2017)
Over the years Bhuvi has become the spearhead of Indian bowling with some added pace and variations to his armory. He has been part of the IPL foray for past 7 years from the age of 21.
He was bought by SRH in 2016 and since then he has become a lethal force for the team. In 2017, he became the highest wicket taker and the proud owner of the purple cap. This performance remains his one of the best in IPL.
SRH put up a target of 160 for KXIP and Manan Vohra took it to himself to make sure that KXIP win. He scored 95 off just 50 balls before Bhuvi bowled him out. Bhuvi them took 2 more wickets to complete his 5 for of the match and win the nail-biting encounter for SRH by just 5 runs.
Lasith Malinga – 5/13 vs DD (2011)
Malinga is one of the highest wicket-taker in IPL history and has been a striking force for Mumbai Indians over the year. He has given numerous good performances for the team at the end of the innings with slinging Yorkers and slower ones.
In this one performance also, he devasted the DD batting line-up to bundle them out at 95. He took Warner and youngster Unmukt Chand up the top order and then came back in the 16th over to wrap up the Delhi Innings.
He took the wicket of Venugopal Rao, Morne Morkel, and Ashok Dinda to complete his 5-wicket haul of IPL 2011. He gave away only 13 runs in his spell and was awarded the Player of the Match, which his team won easily by chased the total in 17th over only.
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Anil Kumble – 5/5 vs RR (2009)
The veteran of Indian cricket produced some of the magical performances in the early seasons of IPL for RCB and this one is amongst them.
IPL 2009 was moved to South Africa due to security issues owing to the general election in India and Kumble gave this scintillating performance in the 2nd game of the season against the defending champions Rajasthan Royals.
His figures helped RCB to restrict RR for the lowest total of IPL history. RCB put up a fighting total, batting first with the help of another veteran Rahul Dravid. RR was already tottering at 28/4 while chasing 134 when Kumble was asked to bowl in the 10th over.
It was his stunning flippers and wrong ones that proved too much to handle for the RR batsmen and they were bundled out for just 58 runs.
Sohail Tanvir – 6/14 vs CSK (2008)
The only season Pakistani players could be part of IPL. RR won the inaugural season riding high on the exceptional leadership of legendary spinner Shane Warne. Another person that shined in this dream season of 2008 for RR was Sohail Tanvir.
He took 2 wickets in the first over of the match in Parthiv Patel and Stephen Fleming. He then got Vidyut to leave CSK at 12/3 in just 3 overs.
CSK was tottering at 96/7 when Tanvir returned for his 2nd spell in the 17th over. He cleaned up the tail of Albie Morkel, Muralitharan and Ntini to kae 6 wickets in the match and wrap up CSK innings.
RR won the match comfortably and his figures remain the best of IPL even after 10 seasons.