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Keeping it tight: The most economical bowling spells in T20

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T20 cricket is always perceived as a batsman’s game. The shortest format of cricket is designed in a way that makes it very difficult for bowlers to keep the flow of runs in check runs. However, that hasn’t stopped bowlers from delivering remarkable spells.

Pakistan’s Mohammad Irfan makes a brilliant example of it. 

Playing for Barbados Tridents in the 2018 Caribbean Premier League, Mohammad Irfan delivered the most economical spell in T20 cricket, giving away just one run in his four overs. The lanky pacer bowled three maiden overs against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, picked two wickets and finished the match at an economy of 0.25.

Most economical spells in T20

Bowler Team Opponent Spell Economy Year
Mohammad Irfan Barbados Tridents St Kitts and Nevis Patriots 4-3-1-2 0.25 2018
Chris Morris Lions Cape Cobras 4-3-2-2 0.50 2014
Chanaka Welegedara Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club Sinhalese Sports Club 4-2-2-4 0.50 2014
Zulfiqar Babar Multan Tigers Quetta Bears 4-2-3-2 0.75 2012
Shoaib Malik Barbados Tridents Antigua Hawksbills 4-2-3-1 0.75 2013

Before Mohammad Irfan, Chris Morris and Chanaka Welegedara both held the record in T20. In their quota of four overs, the bowlers had given away just two runs. Morris picked two wickets during his spell while Welegedara scalped four. Zulfiqar Babar sits fourth after he gave away just three runs in a Pakistan Super League match against Quetta Bears in 2012.

As far as the Indian T20 League is concerned, there are as many as three bowlers (with a minimum of three overs), who have ended their spell at an economy of 1.50. The first one to do so was Fidel Edwards. Playing for Team Deccan against Kolkata in 2009, the West Indies pacer conceded six runs in his four overs whilst delivering one maiden over. He failed to pick a wicket though.

Just a month after Edwards had set a record, Ashish Nehra recorded identical figures, albeit picking a wicket too. Ten years later, Bangalore spinner Yuzvendra Chahal matched the figures against Chennai. Anil Kumble also makes it to the list with figures of 5/5 in 3.1 overs in 2009.

Most economical spells in Indian T20 League

Bowler Team Opponent Spell Economy Year
Fidel Edwards Deccan Kolkata 4-1-6-0 1.50 2009
Ashish Nehra Delhi Punjab 4-1-6-1 1.50 2009
Yuzvendra Chahal Bangalore Chennai 4-1-6-1 1.50 2019
Anil Kumble Bangalore Rajasthan 3.1-1-5-5 1.57 2009
Rahul Sharma Pune Mumbai 4-0-7-2 1.75 2011

The most economical spell in T20 international cricket was bowled by Mohammed Aslam during the 2019/20 ACC Western Region T20I match between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Aslam, a Sri Lanka-born bowler, ended with the figure of 2/3 in four overs. 

Among member nations, Lasith Malinga holds the record for the most economical spell in T20I cricket. The Sri Lanka pacer gave away just six runs in his four overs while also taking five wickets against New Zealand in 2019, skittling the Kiwis out for 88.

Most economical spells in T20I

Bowler Team Opponent Spell Economy Year
Mohammed Aslam Kuwait Saudi Arabia 4-1-3-2 0.75 2020
Aizaz Khan Hong Kong Nepal 4-1-4-2 1.00 2014
Pedro Arrighi Argentina Brazil 4-2-4-5 1.00 2019
Karima Gore USA Bermuda 4-2-5-3 1.25 2019
Atif Kamal Luxembourg Turkey 4-0-5-2 1.25 2019

Featured photo: AFP / Saeed Khan

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