IPL is no more a batsman\'s game, as this selection of outstanding bowling performances from the fifth season highlights.
The idea of introducing the Twenty20 format and later including it in mainstream cricket was to bring the entertainment factor into play, especially for the spectators. This slam-bang form of cricket is completely a batsman's game with little iota of thought spared for the bowlers. The crowd comes to the ground to watch the sixes and fours irrespective of which batsman hits it. With fewer spotlights on the bowlers, they have found out ways to have their share of fame also, be it by developing new skills, mystery balls or some variations.
When the first season of IPL kicked off, it was the bowlers who faced the onslaught, but as the tournament got older with years; the bowlers got clever and were one step ahead on most occasions. In this edition it has been a great tussle between the bat and ball and bowlers like: Morne Morkel, Sunil Narine, Lasith Malinga and Dale Steyn impressed one and all. Moreover, there were some non-entities also, like Parvinder Awana (Kings XI Punjab), Shahbaz Nadeem (Delhi Daredevils) and Ajit Chandila (Rajasthan Royals) who were revelations this year and have the temperament to make it big.
Leaving aside the share of off-field controversies in this edition, cricket took the front seat due to some keenly fought matches and packed stadiums. Coming back to bowling, IPL 5 was ruled by the left-arm spinners throwing the orthodox offspinners and legspinners to the backburner. Here is a look at the top bowling performances of IPL 5.
Sunil Narine: The most talked about bowler
The Kolkata Knight Riders offspinner – for whom the franchise forked out $750,000 at the 2012 auction - took IPL 5 by storm and has made a strong case in point for his selection into the West Indian Test side. Narine was Kolkata's key performer and one of the players responsible for their successful campaign. In the 17th match against Punjab, Narine ended with figures of 5 for 19 with an economy of 4.75, but his team ended on the losing side in a closely contested match at the Eden Gardens. In a crucial 65th match against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium - where his team co-owner Shah Rukh Khan's spat with the security personnel took centre stage - Narine had his moment of glory as he bagged 4 for 15 in 3.1 overs to take his team to a big win over the hosts.
Lakshmipathy Balaji: An unsung hero
It was unfortunate that Balaji, whose economy of 5.40 was the best of the season, missed out in the IPL final, which was won by his team Kolkata. But at the end of the match, the captain Gautam Gambhir didn't forget to acknowledge the efforts of the smiling medium-pacer. In this season, Balaji was the silent-killer. Against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 10th match, he was spot on and hardly erred in his superb spell of 4 for 18, which included the big scalps of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.
Lasith Malinga: No more a surprise
The Sri Lankan slinger just loves this format of the game where he is at his lethal best with his toe-crushing yorkers and crafty slower balls. Although it is surprising that in this IPL he failed to claim a five-for, nonetheless he notched up some sterling performances for Mumbai and one of those was against the listless Deccan Chargers in the 40th match, where Deccan were bundled out for just 100 batting first. In this match Malinga bowled second change, but did enough damage by taking four wickets.
Dimitri Mascarenhas makes it count
Left out of content_cnion for the England team, allrounder Dimitri Mascarenhas showed the class of a limited-overs player with the ball by running through Pune Warriors India's top order. His scalps consisted of the likes of Sourav Ganguly, Marlon Samuels and Robin Uthappa. In the 14th match of IPL 5, the Punjab bowler bagged match-winning figures of 5 for 25 and this bowling performance kicked back things into momentum for his team. That evening in Mohali, Mascarenhas bowled with plenty of purpose by moving the ball around sharply both ways and made the Pune batsmen hop around.
Ajit Chandila: A surprise package
The unheralded Haryana offspinner, featuring in his second match for Rajasthan, opened the bowling for his team and claimed the wickets of the top four Pune batsmen cheaply and ended up taking the first hat-trick of season five. Chandila took advantage of his height and was able to get appreciable loop and flight, which left the batsmen guessing in that 60th match in Jaipur. He ended with impressive figures of 4 for 13 off four overs and earned the Man-of-the-Match award.
Ashok Dinda impresses one and all
The Pune fast bowler was sharp, fiery and hit the right areas to force everyone to take notice of him. Dinda came into IPL 5 riding on a successful domestic stint and continued in the same vein. In the sixth match defending a meager score of 129, the Pune skipper released a red-hot Dinda on Mumbai and the speedster starred with figures of 4 for 18.
Ravindra Jadeja proves his worth
The costliest player of this season – at $2million - proved his worth in the sixth match against Deccan Chargers, where the Chennai Super Kings' allrounder played a key role with both bat and ball. Jadeja scored a crucial 48 off 29 balls and then with his slow left-arm stuff claimed 5 for 16 from his quota. Riding on his all-round show, Chennai won by 74 runs and Jadeja was adjudged Man of the Match.