The rate of scoring in T20 cricket, and particularly in the Indian T20 League, has progressed at a frenetic pace. With batsmen developing the skills and power to consistently clear the ropes with ease, the onus came onto the bowlers to stop these machines. While wicket-taking is a huge skill, containment in T20s is as important and these players, over the years, have had the best economy rates in the league.
There's absolutely no one who can question the wicket-taking skills of Rashid Khan or his ability to contain the scoring rate. The Afghanistan leg-spinner has been a revelation since making his debut in the league and has 55 wickets in 46 games in the league so far. Importantly, his wickets have come at an economy rate of 6.55 which is the best in the history of the league. He has bowled 182 overs in the league so far, bowling a sensational 454 dot balls, a dot ball percentage of 41.5%.
Anil Kumble has bowled just 1 maiden over in the 42 matches he has played in the league's history. The retired leg-spinner has the fourth-best match figures in the league, taking five for five for Bangalore at Newlands in the 2009 edition of the league in South Africa against Rajasthan. Kumble has an overall economy rate of 6.57 in the league with 45 wickets in 42 matches.
As miserly as he was in Test and ODIs, McGrath, in his few years in the Indian T20 league, proved to be his niggardly self. The Australian hit the right line and length to stop the batsmen in T20 cricket and in 54 overs in the league, McGrath has an impressive economy rate of 6.61. Strikingly, he never picked up as many wickets as he used to in the other formats. He was all about containment in the league and in 14 matches, picked up just 12 wickets, averaging close to 30.
Sunil Narine's metamorphosis as an all-rounder came late in the league and his value perhaps rose sky-high because of this. However, Narine first made a name for his mystery spin and ability to string together dot balls. The spinner has 1051 dot balls in the 426.2 overs he has bowled in the league, a dot ball percentage of 41.08%. Narine's economy rate of 6.67 is the fourth-best in the league's history. Interestingly, he has also been a relentless wicket-taker, taking 122 wickets with six four-wicket hauls and one other five-wicket haul.
The Sri Lankan off-spinner remained a mystery for several batsmen till the end of his career and taking him on, even in the shortest format of the game, wasn't really an option. As such, the Lankan always commanded respect and playing him out was a desirable option particularly in the early editions of the league. Muralitharan has 63 wickets in 66 matches, clocking an economy rate similar to that of Narine (6.67). He bowled 600 dot balls in the league's history and was a rather effective bowler when the requirement was to put a leash on the run-rate.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Noah Seelam