In T20 cricket, both the batting and bowling departments hold paramount importance and inefficiency to shine in any one of them does have a bearing on the final outcome of a game. As for bowlers operating at leagues like the IPL, it is vital to build the dot balls and mount the pressure on the opposition batsmen, picking their wickets. An inability to keep the batting side under duress sees the leak of runs from both the ends and the side goes onto post daunting totals on the board.
In order to prevent this, a bowler has to deliver a few dot balls on the bounce and thus, assist his bowling partner in maintaining the pressure. In the 13-years long history of the IPL, we have seen numerous bowlers, who procured wickets by building plenty of dot balls. We will be focusing on a few in the present article. In the below piece, we look at 5 bowlers, who delivered the most dot balls in the history of IPL:
1. Harbhajan Singh – 1249
The veteran off-spinner tops the list bowling 1249 dot balls in 157 innings. For a major part of his IPL career, Harbhajan played for MI, shouldering the responsibility of an experienced spinner and lower-order contributor.
He might not have been at his best playing for the franchise but found a way to contain the batsmen and bowl economical overs. The tight spells worked wonders for the bowlers bowling at the other end, procuring wickets in heap.
Having served MI for such a long time, Harbhajan played for CSK in the last few years before getting picked at his base price of 2 crores by KKR for the upcoming season. Though well past his prime, Harbhajan will have a role to play in the success of Kolkata, who will bring his invaluable experience to the table and help out the youngsters in the team.
2. Ravichandran Ashwin – 1170
India’s first-choice spinner at the Test arena, Ashwin comes second on the list with 1170 dot balls in 151 innings. It was CSK where he began his IPL journey, bestowed with the responsibility of bowling in the powerplay or sometimes even at the death.
Skipper Dhoni brought the best out of the man, who utilised his variations to fox the opposition batsmen. Ashwin too never hesitated from taking on a new challenge and gave his best to ensure its fulfilment.
It was for this reason that Punjab bought him in 2018 and appointed him as the captain. The stint wasn’t really successful which led to his transfer to Delhi Capitals for IPL 2020. He did a decent job for them last season and with Iyer out due to injury for the upcoming one, Ashwin will play a significant role in helping out the stand-in skipper Pant in taking his decisions.
3. Bhuvneshwar Kumar – 1164
Known for his exploits with the new ball and one who has become ‘Mr. Dependable’ in recent times for India, Bhuvi is third on this list with 1164 dot balls in 121 innings. His presence here isn’t a surprise for the bowler has always been economical, right from the time that he first burst onto the scene.
Bhuvi has got a beautiful in-swinger which leaves the batsmen in 2 minds, dismissing them either leg before wicket or bowled. Given his medium-pace, batsmen seem to take their chances and underestimating his abilities also lose their wickets.
With plenty of variations up his sleeves now, Bhuvi can employ them as and when he wants against a particular batsman or in a certain situation. Like any other bowler, the Uttar Pradesh pacer too has disappeared for a few in the games that he has featured in, but always found a way to make a comeback and reap the desired rewards for the team.
Come the 2021 season of the IPL, Bhuvi will spare no efforts to ensure that SRH yet again qualify for the playoffs and this time go the distance as well, winning their 2nd IPL title.
4. Lasith Malinga – 1155
The ‘yorker king’ from Sri Lanka, Malinga has bowled 1155 dot balls in his entire IPL career. From his debut season in 2009 till the victorious 2019 season, Malinga represented only the MI side, pulling off some breathtaking performances for them.
Given his slingy action, he was difficult to pick for most batsmen, who deemed it wise to play him out and cash on the other bowlers. His inch-perfect yorkers got the better of even the stalwarts of the game, forcing them into submission.
As years passed, opposition teams started devising plans to counteract his threat and take him to the cleaners. They did so with aplomb, but even Malinga wasn’t behind either as he used his slower ones to tackle them and found a new way to pick wickets.
Having retired from the league, MI will definitely miss his services and needless to say, there won’t be another one like him, winning the game for his side from improbable situations.
5. Piyush Chawla – 1146
A veteran of IPL cricket, Chawla sits fifth on this list with 1146 dot balls in 163 innings. Being a leg-spinner, he was always in demand at the league and featured in all the 13 seasons completed till now.
Chawla has the happy knack of picking wickets and employed his googlies as a way to achieve it. He mostly bowls in the middle overs and controls the proceedings for his side. The man achieved significant success playing for the Punjab side and KKR, and even hit the winning runs for the latter during their 2014 triumph.
Turning up for CSK in IPL 2020, Chawla was disappointing, to say the least. He gave away plenty of runs without any stellar success and thus the yellow army released him for the upcoming season. It was MI who bidded for him and availed his services for 2.4 crores in IPL 2021, adding some experience to their spin department.