Bowling De Kings: When the ball triumphed over the willow

From a hat-trick in Mohali to a ripper in Mumbai, the Shers delivered some magnificent bowling performances this season.

With a bowling line-up stacked with talent and experience, Kings XI Punjab had one of the most balanced attacks in VIVO Indian Premier League this season and they displayed that prowess several times over the course of the campaign.

While there were plenty of brilliant bowling performances to choose from, we narrowed it down to the following efforts as the best of the Shers this year: 

4/12 - Curran’s ‘trick bamboozles the Capitals

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Chasing 167 on a good batting surface, visitors Delhi Capitals found themselves in a fantastic position needing a meagre 23 off the final three overs with five wickets in hand. For KXIP to snatch an unlikely victory, they needed a miracle and youngster Sam Curran happily obliged.

Bowling the 18th over, Curran got rid of the dangerous Colin Ingram on the fourth delivery to bring his team back into the contest and on the final ball, he got rid of Harshal Patel to swing the tide in the Shers’ favour. After Shami allowed just four off the 19th, Curran delivered the killshot in the final over, knocking over Kagiso Rabada and Sandeep Lamichhane in the first two deliveries of the over to complete a hat-trick and win the game for the Shers.

3/21 – ‘How to dominate on a road’, a tutorial by Mohammad Shami

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Bowling at the Wankhede Stadium can be a nightmarish prospect, given the batter-friendly nature of the ground, but during the Shers’ visit to Mumbai, pacer Mohammad Shami dominated with the ball. He finished with an economy of less than six on a day where the two teams combined scored close to 400 runs.

Shami bowled the first two overs of his spell in the powerplay and leaked just four runs while also dismissing debutant Siddhesh Lad with an inch-perfect yorker, giving the Shers a faultless start. Shami’s third over was the 16th of the innings, where he got rid of both Pandya brothers, Hardik and Krunal, to put KXIP firmly on top in the contest. His final over, which was the 18th, went for just eight – a brilliant result given the fact that the required rate had climbed to 16. While Shami’s effort eventually did not yield a win, his performance on the night was undoubtedly outstanding.

2/24 – The skipper’s royal spell against Rajasthan

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Chasing 183 at Mohali, Rajasthan Royals were off to a blistering start and the home team were in dire need of a breakthrough to curb the flow of runs. Captain Ravichandran Ashwin answered his team’s call by bowling a tidy 10th, giving away just four runs, and knocking over Sanju Samson in his very next over.

Ashwin returned to bowl his final over in the 16th and gave away just a run-a-ball in his first five deliveries. With the pressure building, the set batsman Rahul Tripathi decided to take Ashwin on, but it would prove to be a fatal error as his lofted drive went straight into the palms of the long-off fielder, putting the Shers in control of the proceedings. The rest of the bowling unit held their nerve and closed out the contest as the Shers came out on top and the captain was, unsurprisingly, awarded the man-of-the-match for his efforts.

2/25 – Murugan magic dismantles Mumbai’s innings

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Having been put into bat by KXIP, Mumbai Indians batted brilliantly in the powerplay, finishing at 63/1. Opener Quinton De Kock and batsman Suryakumar Yadav looked in great touch, finding gaps with ease on a beautiful batting surface. To shake things up, captain Ravichandran Ashwin handed the ball to spinner Murugan Ashwin and it paid dividends immediately as the leggie caught Yadav plumb in front of the stumps while leaking just a couple of singles.

The wicket temporarily curbed Mumbai’s momentum but towards the end of the middle overs, batsman Yuvraj Singh and all-rounder Kieron Pollard looked to up the ante to get their team to a big total. Knowing the batsman would go after the bowling attack, skipper Ashwin handed the ball to his namesake for his final over and the leggie delivered again, getting rid of Yuvraj, whose slog attempt found Shami in the deep. Murugan’s tidy spell and timely breakthrough restricted Mumbai to 176 and the Shers chased it down with eight balls to spare.

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