The Indian Premier League (IPL), like any other global T20s league, has been a batsman’s paradise. In the batsmen friendly format, bowlers have found it tough going. But despite all the challenges they go through, there have been instances when they struck the right chords and came out strong.
The IPL in this matter has given the fans plenty of moments to cherish when bowlers rose up to the occasion and performed well. Since the Purple Cap’s inception back in 2008 – a prize for the leading wicket-takers in a season, several bowlers went the distance and wrote their name in history books.
The tradition of awarding the Purple Cap has continued even until today as IPL completed a decade in 2017. Interestingly, five Indians and an equal number of foreign-recruits have bagged the Purple Cap.
Here is a statistical analysis of the bowlers, who thrived with their touch of magic and brilliance in winning the coveted award.
SOHAIL TANVIR (2008) – Pakistan’s left-arm unorthodox pace bowler kept the batsmen guessing throughout the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008. He represented Rajasthan Royals and quickly settled down under the leadership of former Aussie legend Shane Warne.
Tanvir was instrumental for the Royals, who went on winning the 2008 IPL trophy. His variations, slower balls, and yorkers kept the batsmen on their toes as he finished the tournament with 22 wickets.
A stand out performance of 6/14 against Chennai Super Kings is still the best individual figures in IPL history.
Matches: 11 Wickets: 22, Best: 6/14, Economy: 6.46
LASITH MALINGA (2011) – Another bowler who thrived with a very different action. Sri Lanka’s Malinga was a powerhouse in the IPL and played a stellar role for Mumbai Indians over the years. The fast bowler’s sling action had batsmen hiding throughout and it was in 2011 when Malinga stood out.
28 wickets to his name, Malinga was rock solid for MI and led the bowling attack with utmost precision. His excellence at the death saw him pick a flurry of wickets, especially with the toe-crushers.
He shared an excellent rapport with Munaf Patel, who picked 22 wickets and what was admirable that season was Malinga’s economy rate was below six runs an over to get join the family of IPL purple cap holders.
Matches: 16 Wickets: 28, Best: 5/13, Economy: 5.95
Left-armers for Chargers
RP SINGH (2009) – The former Indian left-arm pacer got the ball talking in South Africa where the IPL was held that season. The fast nature of the pitches assisted RP as he thrived with the movements. A genuine swing bowler, he finished the season with 23 wickets to help the Chargers bag the title.
The best memories of RP Singh was the four-wicket haul against Kolkata Knight Riders, besides the game against Mumbai when he trounced Sanath Jayasuriya and Sachin Tendulkar off consecutive deliveries. In the final too, he was excellent giving away just 16 runs from four overs.
Matches: 16 Wickets: 23, Best: 4/22, Economy: 6.46
PRAGYAN OJHA (2010) – Deccan Chargers did well in the next season as well and this time it was their left-arm spinner Ojha, who snapped up the Purple Cap. Ojha picked 21 wickets and interestingly the top four wicket-takers that season were all spinners.
Chargers, who reached the semis that year, had Ojha in prime form. His most convincing performance was 2/24 against Royal Challengers Bangalore. In that game when all bowlers were belted for runs above eight an-over, Ojha thrived and got wickets too.
Matches: 16 Wickets: 21, Best: 3/26, Economy: 7.29
Bravo ‘the Champion’
DWAYNE BRAVO (2013, 2015) – IPL purple cap holders list can’t be completed without Bravo. West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo reached a different level during his peak in the 2013 and 2015 season. He became the first bowler in IPL history to bag two Purple Caps and earned a name in being one of the finest T20 players during that time.
In 2013, he picked 32 wickets and followed it up with 26 in 2015. Interestingly, in both the seasons CSK reached the finals and lost to same opponents MI. Bravo’s 32 wickets in 2013, still remain the highest by any bowler in the IPL. He picked a wicket in every single match that season, which included a 4/42 against MI in the final.
In 2015, he specialized in bowling in the end overs. His variety of slower balls, bouncers and the block-hole deliveries was in another level. That year he will be known for his brilliant performance against KKR with a 3/32 that helped CSK defend a modest 134.
2013 Matches: 18 Wickets: 32, Best: 4/42, Economy: 7.95
2015 Matches: 17 Wickets: 26, Best: 3/22, Economy: 8.14
BHUVNESHWAR KUMAR (2016, 2017)
The Sunrisers Hyderabad bowler has gone on to excel in every format in recent years and has made the T20s his special forte. He won the Purple Cap in 2016 and followed it up with another in 2017 with 23 and 26 wickets respectively.
He got swing early on and towards the end, he backed it up with excellent slower balls and pinpoint yorkers. In 2016, his three wickets against KKR in the eliminator will always be a special memory. Last season he had another solid campaign as SRH reached the playoffs.
2016 Matches: 14 Wickets: 26, Best: 5/19, Economy: 7.05
2017 Matches: 17 Wickets: 23, Best: 4/29, Economy: 7.42
One Season Wonder
MOHIT SHARMA (2014)
Indian pacer Mohit did well just in his second season in the IPL itself. Playing for CSK, Mohit got the freedom to express himself and he did not disappoint with 23 wickets to his name. He was excellent in the group stage picking wickets at regular intervals providing vital breakthroughs for the team including a 4/14 against MI. CSK reached the final that year but lost to KKR.
Matches: 16 Wickets: 23, Best: 4/14, Economy: 8.39
Morkel stands tall
MORNE MORKEL (2012)
The South African fast bowler shined for Delhi in 2012 as they topped the group stages. Morkel played a commanding role taking 25 scalps. He was defiant with his bouncers and yorkers that were bowled with serious pace.
He had taken 15 wickets at 10.80 in DD’s first six games already. His 4/20 against KXIP was one of the best fast bowling spells in the format.
Matches: 16 Wickets: 25, Best: 4/20, Economy: 7.19