Although T20 is essentially a batsman’s game, the role of a bowler can never be undermined. As they say, ‘Batsmen can win you matches but is the bowlers who bring you the silverware’.
The above statement holds true for IPL too. Over the past few seasons, we have seen teams with sounder bowling units ruling the competition. Of course, the batters might go away with the attention, but without the sufficient provision of the bowlers, all the energy would go hollow.
A bowler can only have 24 deliveries up his sleeve in an innings. Although he can devise a variety of strategies around these four overs, a dot ball is one of the most important components of his armory. In the T20 format, a dot ball adds pressure on the batsmen, and invariably, if not the bowler, at least his partner could get a wicket.
The IPL has seen several bowlers who have relied on this strategy. Using dot balls, they mounted immense pressure, which usually led to the downfall of a batsman. In this article, we discuss the five highest dot-ball bowlers in the history of the tournament.
Note:- The below numbers hold good as on Game 30 of IPL 2020 between Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Capitals.
1. Harbhajan Singh – 1249
When IPL began in 2008, Harbhajan Singh was India’s premier spinner. Amongst others who were fairly new to the format, Bhajji had already adapted himself to the shorter version of the game. At times, he was unplayable, and often, he was his team’s lead wicket-taker. Having played twelve seasons, Harbhajan now has the highest number of dot balls to his name. In the 160 games he has played, the Punjab spinner has not conceded in a single run in 1249 deliveries.
2. Bhuvneshwar Kumar – 1164
It is actually a little hard for a fast bowler to bowl a dot ball. Usually, a batsman makes use of the bowler’s pace to knock a single or two. In Bhuvi’s case though, this has been different. Batsmen usually didn’t have answers to his variations, and therefore, dot balls used to accumulate in plenty. All of this has led to 1164 dots for Bhuvi in the IPL.
3. Lasith Malinga – 1155
Third on this list is a name that does not surprise anyone. The master of the T20 format, it is inevitable that Lasith Malinga makes his presence in this list. The Sri Lankan has missed a few seasons through injuries, and if that was not the case, he could have been further up the table in this list. Nevertheless, in 122 games, Malinga collected 1155 dot balls along with 170 wickets. He has been MI’s go-to man for a while, and if all goes well, he could as well play at least another edition of the Indian Premier League.
4. Piyush Chawla – 1141
While Piyush Chawla’s first twelve seasons were distributed between stints in Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders, the experienced leggie is now plying his trade at the Chennai Super Kings. Piyush is a severely underrated man, and he being at No.4 on this list speaks volumes about his skills. In the 538.4 overs that Piyush has bowled in 163 IPL encounters, he has taken a total of 1141 dot-balls. With the guys above him not playing in IPL 2020, if he does really well, Piyush could move up the list.
5. Amit Mishra – 1128
Amit Mishra’s case is very similar to that of Piyush Chawla. At least Piyush got decent opportunities with Team India, but in Amit’s case, that didn’t happen too. The veteran leggie has been there in the scene for many years now, and if not getting injured, he would have played a crucial role for Delhi Capitals this season. In 150 games, Amit has bowled 526.5 overs, out of which, 1128 deliveries were dot balls. However, Ravichandran Ashwin is really close to this number, and he might as well break it by the end of this edition.