Top 3 spells in IPL eliminators 

On the back of a stupendous spell of fast bowling from Akash Madhwal, the Mumbai Indians marched along to Qualifier 2 in Ahmedabad after winning the eliminator clash of IPL 2023 against the Lucknow Super Giants by 81 runs on Wednesday (May 24).

On a dicey Chepauk wicket, MI posted a more than competitive score of 182 after winning the toss and batting first. None of the batters could make it big, but some useful contributions from Cameron Green and Suryakumar Yadav in the middle overs and a great start from Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan set the ball rolling for the five-time champions.

Riding on a brilliant spell from Naveen-Ul Haq, LSG clawed their way back into the game with a cluster of wickets. In a situation where it looked like MI would post somewhere around 190–195, the LSG bowlers managed to restrict them to 182.

LSG lost the opening duo of Prerak Mankad and Kyle Mayers early, but a sensible partnership between Marcus Stoinis and the skipper Krunal Pandya steadied the ship for the Super Giants. Both took calculated risks and never really allowed the required rate to climb drastically.

The game turned upside down with the wicket of Krunal Pandya when he attempted a big shot off the bowling of Piyush Chawla. Madhwal, who had picked up the early wicket of Mankad, came back for his second spell and bowled a match-winning over, which included the wickets of Ayush Badoni and Nicholas Pooran.

While Badoni has himself to blame for the ugly hoick that brought about his downfall, Pooran couldn’t do much about that delivery, which seamed away a tad after pitching and took the outside edge. Pooran was the key wicket, and LSG could never really recover from there.

The three run-outs didn’t help either, and LSG had no way back into the match. Madhwal then went on to pick a fifer with the wicket of Mohsin Khan. Ending with figures of 5/5, he also joined Anil Kumble for the most economical fifer ever in IPL cricket.

Madhwal’s spell would undoubtedly be the greatest spell in an eliminator clash in the IPL, but this is not the first time a bowler has turned the match upside down with his magic in an eliminator.

That said, let us have a look at three other top spells in IPL eliminators.

#1 Sunil Narine – 4/21 vs Royal Challengers Bangalore 2021

Sunil Narine celebrates the wicket of AB de Villiers during his brilliant spell against KKR in IPL 2021

One of the finest performers for KKR over the years, Sunil Narine spoiled the party for the Royal Challengers Bangalore during the eliminator clash in 2021. Producing a magical all-round showing, Sunil Narine bagged the Player of the Match award as KKR won the thrilling contest by 4 wickets.

The Sharjah wicket, which was producing high-scoring matches during the earlier part of the tournament, suddenly became a dicey wicket to bat on as the tournament progressed and the magician ruled the roost in spin-friendly conditions.

Narine bagged the prized wicket of Virat Kohli by sneaking one through his defense, while his other three scalps included the big guns AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell. It was high-quality spin bowling, and the RCB batters couldn’t quite find an answer in front of his artistry.

KKR were put under pressure during the run chase when Narine contributed with the bat. Scoring a stroke-filled 26 off 15 deliveries, Narine shifted the momentum towards KKR as they eventually went on to win in the final over.

#2 Bhuvneshwar Kumar – 3/18 vs Kolkata Knight Riders 2016

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been an integral part of the SRH set up in the IPL

Swing master Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been a longtime servant for the Sunrisers Hyderabad and has been an integral part of the SRH set-up ever since joining the IPL franchise.

Just when the chips are down, Bhuvneshwar tends to produce extraordinary performances. Even to this day, he remains one of the finest bowlers with the new ball in the IPL.

Back in 2016, in the eliminator clash against KKR, Bhuvi produced one of those match-winning spells and helped SRH go through to the next round of the tournament. After batting first, SRH posted a competitive score of 162 on a two-paced wicket at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi.

KKR needed to get off to a good start, but that wasn’t possible due to some tight bowling by the veteran pacer. He didn’t take a wicket in his first spell but bowled in the right channels, which didn’t really allow KKR to cut loose.

Just when it mattered the most, Bhuvneshwar delivered in the death overs. He dismissed a well-set Manish Pandey, who was going solid on 36, and followed it up with the wickets of Rajagopal Satish and Jason Holder, and SRH won the game by 22 runs.

#3 Munaf Patel 3/27 vs Kolkata Knight Riders 2011

Munaf Patel played a pivotal part in MI winning the eliminator clash against KKR back in IPL 2011

Not many would remember the fact that Munaf Patel was an integral part of the Rajasthan Royals’ triumphant campaign in the inaugural IPL season. He was snapped up by the Mumbai Indians ahead of the 2011 IPL season, and the hit-the-deck bowler bagged three crucial wickets in the eliminator clash back in 2011.

Bowling first, the Mumbai Indians restricted the Knight Riders to a below-par score of 147 and later managed to chase it down with four deliveries to spare. The new ball did the trick for MI, as Munaf Patel bowled splendidly and accounted for the prized wickets of Jacques Kallis and Yusuf Pathan.

The pitch at the Wankhede has produced belters over the last many years, but back in 2011, the pitch wasn’t as conducive to batting as it is today. In helpful conditions, Munaf bowled his heart out and eventually finished with 3/27.