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With the advent of Twenty20s (T20s), there was an inkling that it will turn out to be a completely batsman’s game. However, the bowlers have survived the litmus test and have won fulsome praise for their heart-warming efforts. With the Indian Premier League 2014 about to begin, Bharath Ramaraj looks at those bowlers who can weave their magic on batsmen by keeping them on a tight leash.
In the glitzy and glamorous world of the Indian Premier League (IPL), stadiums are jam-packed to watch those big, muscular cricketers who use bazooka bats to smash opposition bowlers to smithereens.
However, even if a team is packed with power-hitters, they can taste victory only if bowlers rise to the challenge and make regular breakthroughs. In fact, one of the ways to take wickets is to keep the batsmen on a tight leash by bowling dot deliveries leading to batsmen trying fancy shots.
Over the years, IPL has seen its fair share of jaw-dropping spells, where the bowlers have dried up the runs to make the batsmen’s lives difficult.
In this article, let’s look at some of those parsimonious bowlers, who can fill acres and reams of newsprint with their fine showing in IPL 2014.
In the above table, one can see the usual suspects, who with their untiring accuracy and unremitting stamina have made a name for themselves in the shortest format of the game. The likes of Dale Steyn, Muttiah Muralitharan, Lasith Malinga and company are quality bowlers who can succeed in any format. But it is interesting to see five spinners in the list of economical bowlers.
When T20s was first introduced, most cricket pundits reckoned that it would turn out to be a death knell for spinners. Yet, the spinners have carved out a niche for themselves in the T20s and have survived the tough grind.
Obviously, one of the reasons for the success of spinners in IPL has to be the fact that games have been played in India. Only in 2009 was the tournament held in South Africa. The slow tracks of India that tend to grip for the spinners have played a key part in the slow bowlers’ tribe touching glorious heights in IPL. It can turn out to be extremely difficult to hit through the line on slow tracks.
Sunil Narine is one of the spinners who has been able to withstand the onslaught of ferocious hitting by batsmen. The unorthodox spinner can turn the ball both ways with a subtle change in his action. He bowls quicker through the air, leaving the batsmen less time to dance down the wicket and counter him with attacking shots. It is difficult for batsmen, especially on slow tracks that turn to play the West Indian star performer. Even the young Karn Sharma, who plays for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), with his brand of leg-spinners and googlies has performed creditably. Googly is a weapon that most modern day batsmen seem to find difficult to pick.
Among pacers, Steyn and Malinga in their contrasting styles have shone brightly and are expected to deliver the goods in IPL 2014. If Steyn is in the classical mould, who bowls razor sharp out-swingers and deadly yorkers then with Malinga, he has three weapons up his sleeve and they are yorkers, slower deliveries and bouncers.
IPL 2014, which will be played in both United Arab Emirates (UAE) and India, should turn out to be a litmus test for bowlers. However, one can expect the bowlers’ tribe with their sheer willpower and single-minded focus engineering triumphs for their respective teams.
(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)
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