Anil Kumble’s tight bowling here on Wednesday was the main reason why the Chennai Super Kings nearly stumbled chasing the Bangalore Royal Challengers’ total of 161. The leg-spinner took one for 16 from four overs and the figures were in keeping with his performance in IPL III so far.
Kumble may have taken only six wickets from seven matches, but his economy rate of 5.28 in 27.5 overs is second only to Juan Theron of the Kings XI Punjab who has bowled just eight overs in the League (see graphic).
Only one other bowler, Kolkata Knight Riders’ left-arm spinner Murali Kartik, is going at less than a run a ball. Kartik’s teammate, Iqbal Abdulla, has an economy rate of six, but has bowled only two overs.
In comparison, the League’s highest wicket-taker, Muttiah Muralitharan, is going at 6.15 and the maverick Shane Warne at more than seven per over.
On Wednesday, Kumble brought himself on in the fourth over of the chase. Murali Vijay had just hit Praveen Kumar for 24 and the hosts were 38 for no loss. Kumble’s first over to Hayden yielded three runs. And in his next, the seventh of the innings, Kumble beat Hayden in flight and spun a googly past the Australian’s bat to have him stumped.
Kumble came back as soon as Murali Vijay got out, hoping to attack the new batsmen. He went for two runs in the 12th over and seven in the 15th. M.S. Dhoni hit the only four Kumble conceded off the last delivery of his spell.
This IPL, has seen some teams scoring runs at a fast clip even while losing wickets, while others have failed to put up huge totals despite having wickets. And when it comes to restricting batsmen, Kumble still has few peers.