Wicket-taking ability is always something that every bowler wants in any format of the game, but in T20 tournaments like IPL, the economy rate is probably as important as the wickets’ tally as the pressure created by a bowler at one end because of the low economy rate can then result in wickets at the other end because the batsman will look for a big shot to release the pressure.
So, in IPL, if you are going at a rate of a run a ball as a bowler, you are worth your weight in gold even if you are not taking q lot of wickets because you are helping others pick wickets at the other end.
Here are the top 5 economical bowlers in the history of IPL (min. 30 games played)
Rashid Khan has the lowest economy rate out of all the bowlers who have played at least 30 games in the IPL and that itself explains why he is rated so highly as a T20 bowler around the world. However, Rashid is not someone who just contains the batsmen, he takes a lot of wickets as well.
In 54 games that he has played so far, Rashid has got 65 wickets with a strike rate of 19.7 which suggests he is a frequent wicket-taker as well. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to suggest that Rashid is currently the best leg spinner going around in the T20 circuit.
Anil Kumble didn’t play as many IPL games as Rashid, but he was very much a Rashid kind of a bowler as well. Perhaps he used to get a tad more bounce than Rashid, but he also relied more on his wrong one than his stock delivery and he was very quick through the air as well. It was not easy to line Kumble up.
Kumble played 42 matches for RCB and grabbed 45 scalps at an economy rate of just 6.57 per over. It’s an incredible record for someone who started playing in the IPL in the twilight of his career.
Muttiah Muralitharan was not quite a wrist spinner like Rashid or Kumble, but he could also turn the ball both ways, because he had got the “Doosra” which used to turn away from the right-handers.
Muralitharan had a huge role to play in CSK’s consistent performances in the IPL in their initial years. The Sri Lankan legend was a part of CSK’s title-winning team in 2010.
Murali got 63 wickets in IPL in 66 games at an economy rate of just 6.67 per over.
Sunil Narine has played over a hundred games in the IPL already, but despite being around for such a long period of time, he has still been able to maintain an economy rate of less than 7 which is quite extraordinary.
Narine has been reported for a suspect bowling action a couple of times in the IPL, but he has won KKR a number of games as well. The West Indies international has currently got 127 wickets to his name in 116 IPL games at an economy rate of 6.74.
Daniel Vettori didn’t have as many variations as the above mentioned 4 bowlers, but his biggest strength was his accuracy. He hardly ever bowled a half-tracker or a half volley to the batsman.
Even though Vettori was not someone who could turn the ball both ways, he was a tricky customer to deal with because he would never allow the batsman to get fully forward or full back. He would keep the ball in the corridor of uncertainty all the time.
In his 34 IPL games, Vettori got 28 wickets while going at an economy rate of 6.78 per over.