IPL 2021: Top five bowling performances of the season
- IPL 2021: While the senior pros made the most of their experience, various youngsters made the ball talk and found themselves among the wickets. Let's take a look at some of the best bowling performances from the season.
IPL 2021, prior to its suspension due to the Covid-19 crisis in India, witnessed some match-winning spells with the ball. The pitches used in the first half of the tournament, especially in Chennai, Delhi, and Ahmedabad, provided a great deal of assistance to the bowlers and made for enthralling viewing as numerous matches saw an equal battle between bat and ball. A high percentage of the matches even went down to the wire. While the senior pros made the most of their experience, various youngsters made the ball talk and found themselves among the wickets.
While the cloud of doubt continues to loom over the resumption of the lucrative league, let's take a look at some of the best bowling performances from IPL 2021.
1) Harshal Patel: The season opener between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore turned out to be one of the most memorable games of the season. It was an edge-of-the-seat thriller contest that saw RCB stutter over the line on the last ball of the second innings for a two-wicket win. Pacer Harshal Patel hit the winnings runs but it was his performance with the ball that stood out.
The right-arm pacer ran through the defending champions' middle and lower order to restrict them to 159/9 in 20 overs. He pocketed 5/27 in 4 overs and became the first bowler in the history of the tournament to pick a five-wicket haul against the five-time champions. His scalps included Hardik and Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, and Ishan Kishan. Harshal Patel was having his season. He picked up 17 wickets in 7 matches, IPL 2021, matching his best-ever tally of 17 wickets in the 2015 edition. He took 15 matches to get to 17 wickets that year but this year, he's got to the figure in just 6 matches.
2) Andre Russell: Soon after Harshal, Kolkata Knight Riders all-rounder Andre Russell also bagged a five-wicket haul against Mumbai, becoming only the second bowler to do so. Until this game, his previous best was 4/20 in four overs. Russell is known more for his batting prowess but against MI, he showed why KKR continue to show faith in him despite his occasional poor returns.
Russell took 5/15 in just two overs. MI were 123/5 in 16.2 overs on a tricky Chennai track. They looked well-poised for a big finish but the West Indies player had different ideas. He sent the Pandya brothers, Pollard, Marco Jansen and Kishan packing to restrict them to 152 in 20 overs. Unfortunately, his heroics with the ball couldn't prevent a defeat as KKR fell short of the target by 10 runs.
3) Rahul Chahar: One of the main reasons behind KKR failing to chase down the target of 153 despite cruising to 84/1 in 10.2 overs was MI's leg-spinner Rahul Chahar. The right-arm spinner returned with figures of 4/27 in four overs to leave KKR wounded.
Chahar's strength lies in the middle overs, where he stems the run-flow considerably and also picks up wickets. He did just that against Kolkata. He got rid of well-set openers in Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill and dented KKR's hopes further by dismissing Rahul Tripathi and skipper Eoin Morgan cheaply. Unsurprisingly, he was MI's highest wicket-taker in IPL 2021 before the suspension of the league.
4) Deepak Chahar: Currently in India, Chennai Super Kings' pacer Deepak Chahar is one of the finest new-ball bowlers. He gets regular purchase off the wicket just like Bhuvneshwar Kumar and often leaves the opposition's top-order in trouble. His exploits against Punjab Kings were no different.
He wreaked havoc in the PBKS middle-order, dismissing Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, and Deepak Hooda to reduce PBKS to 26/5. The Punjab outfit somehow managed to reach 106/8 in their 20 overs but that was never going to be enough as CSK chased down the target in 15.4 overs with six wickets to spare.
5) Harpreet Brar: Imagine a young, uncapped Indian spinner dismissing Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, and AB de Villiers in a single spell. Sounds like a dream, right? Well, Punjab Kings' Harpreet Brar lived that dream in match 26 of IPL 2021 at the Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Batting first, PBKS posted a competitive 179/5 in 20 overs. Skipper KL Rahul top-scored with an unbeaten 91. In response, RCb fell short by 34 runs to suffer their second defeat of the season. The destroyer-in-chief? Left-arm spinner Brar. He conceded 10 runs off his first over and then a boundary off his first ball of his second over. On the first ball of his third over, which was the innings' 11th, he castled Kohli on 35. Next ball, he outfoxed Maxwell for a golden duck. He then came back in the 13th over to send Ab packing for just three.
A night to remember for the bowler.