IPL 2014: Leading Bowlers, Top Wicket-Takers, Best and Worst Figures

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IPL 2014: Leading Bowlers, Top Wicket-Takers, Best and Worst Figures
Aijaz Rahi/Associated Press

Only four teams remain in this year's Indian Premier League with just four games to go until the winner is crowned.

The round-robin period is over and the playoffs are all that remain with Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians left to fight it out.

As ever, it's been a tournament of big-hitting but there's also been some impressive bowling performances across the four matches.

Let's take a look at the leading bowlers in IPL7, as well as examining some of the poorest bowling performances from the league phase of the competition.

 

Leading Bowlers

Here's a look at the top wicket-takers following the conclusion of the league format, which saw Mumbai record a stunning five-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals:

IPL 2014: Top Wicket-Takers
Player Team Innings Overs Runs Wickets
Sunil Narine Kolkata 14 56 331 20
Bhuvneshwar Kumar Hyderabad 14 53.1 354 20
Mohit Sharma Chennai 14 45.5 364 19
Ravindra Jadeja Chennai 14 46.2 364 17
Sandeep Sharma Punjab 10 37.1 322 17

IPLT20.com

Sunil Narine has been an essential cog in the Kolkata machine in this season's tournament as the Knight Riders' late surge saw them finish second in the league table after seven wins in a row.

A model of consistency, the West Indian is a proven wicket-taker as well as a stunningly economical bowler.

His 20 wickets from 14 matches see him sitting atop the bowling charts in terms of dismissals, while his tournament economy rate of 5.91 makes him the competition's most frugal bowler of those who have bowled more than 10 overs, per ESPNcricinfo.

In the Knight Riders' most recent match, a four-wicket victory over Hyderabad, Narine did not take a wicket but still showed his importance, conceding just 19 runs from his four overs.

Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Filling out the top five wicket-takers is Kings XI's Sandeep Sharma, who has been a star in a team lauded mainly for its batting prowess in the 2014 tournament. 

His 17 wickets from 10 innings is an impressive return and his current average of 18.94 has seen him pick up regular wickets for Punjab as they have gone about defending their huge totals.

BCCI scorer Deepak Sharma alludes to his potency with the new ball, which has been key for Kings XI so far:

While T20 cricket is most certainly a batsman's game, a wicked spell of bowling can be the difference between winning and losing. 

Let's take a look at some of the significant bowling spells from this year's tournament.

 

Best and Worst Figures

IPL 2014: Best Figures
Player Team VS. Figures
Ravindra Jadeja Chennai Kolkata 4-0-12-4
Lakshmipathy Balaji Punjab Hyderabad 4-0-13-4
Mohit Sharma Chennai Mumbai 4-0-14-4
Bhuvneshwar Kumar Hyderabad Rajasthan 4-0-14-4

ESPNcricinfo

Two things are immediately striking when examining the best figures in IPL7; nobody has five wickets in a match and it is very difficult to bowl a maiden.

These are two quite obvious points as it is T20 cricket, but the fact that there is not a single maiden among the best bowling figures shows the difficulties bowlers face.

Ravindra Jadeja's 4-12 against Kolkata saw the Knight Riders skittled for just 114 in pursuit of a 148-run target, nine of the batsmen scoring in single figures.

Similarly, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Mohit Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar's four-wicket games all ended in victory for their respective teams.

The consistent taking of wickets is the best way to restrict scoring in T20 cricket, hence sublime figures from one bowler usually means victory.

Unfortunately, while good bowling is rewarded in T20, bad bowling is punished and it is actually one of the better bowlers who has the ignominy of IPL7's worst figures.

Sandeep Sharma was battered all over the park against Hyderabad on May 14 as the Sunrisers put on a total of 205 with Naman Ojha finishing on 79 not out from 36 balls.

The hapless bowler's figures of 1-65 from four overs wrote him into the record books, per Opta:

However, extraordinarily the batting unit that is Kings XI chased down the total with eight balls to spare as they posted 211 to win the match, per ESPNcricinfo

With only the playoffs to go it may just take that one spell of bowling or flurry of wickets to see the champions crowned.

Four games remain in this year's tournament and with many of the top bowlers still in the competition, the fight for the Purple Cap is still very much on.

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