As the players gear up for another high-octane IPL season, we look back at six of the best South African bowling performances to date.
1. Morne Morkel, 4-0-20-4, Punjab v Delhi, 2012
A South African has yet to take a five-wicket haul at the IPL, leaving Daredevil Morkel’s four-for at the top of the pile. He was the tournament’s leading wicket-taker in 2012, but these four were probably the most insignificant of the lot. Umesh Yadav crashed through the Kings XI Punjab’s top order, allowing the Proteas pace ace to mop up the bulk of the remainder. Delhi lost the match in Dharamsala despite the duo’s fine collective effort, though.
2. Makhaya Ntini, 4-0-21-4, Kolkata v Chennai, 2008
A near capacity Eden Gardens crowd cherished Super Kings stalwart Ntini’s individual success in the inaugural tournament. Three of his victims were bowled, as Australian David Huseey and Indian Sourav Ganguly failed in the face of the right-armer’s angle from characteristically wide of the crease. These figures, too, were almost rendered vain by inclement weather – but a quick, truncated pursuit ensured the Knight Riders defeat regardless.
3. Yusuf Abdulla, 4-0-31-4, Bangalore v Punjab, 2009
The bulky Abdulla’s call-up to South Africa’s Twenty20 International squad in March effectively led to a stint in the IPL a month later. The subject of much criticism for an apparent lack of match fitness, the seamer blew hot and cold. He won’t, however, soon forget the day he removed New Zealanders Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor, fellow South African Jacques Kallis and England’s Kevin Pietersen in rather quick succession at Kingsmead in Durban. Punjab won the match, but half-centurion Ravi Bopara beat Abdulla to the Man of the Match award.
4. Albie Morkel, 4-0-32-4, Chennai v Bangalore, 2008
Renowned for his six-hitting ability with the bat, Morkel’s military medium pace rose to the fore against the Royal Challengers. Outshining Ntini and Sri Lanka cricket legend Muttiah Muralitharan, the seamer exploited conditions in Chepauk to perfection with nagging lines and lengths. The veteran Rahul Dravid and countryman Mark Boucher were among his victims. Morkel later failed with the willow, though, as Chennai flopped in the face of a relatively modest target.
5. Yusuf Abdulla, 4-1-36-4, Bangalore v Punjab, 2009
Less than two weeks after his maiden IPL haul, against the same opposition, at the same venue, Abdulla was back for more. This time he even managed to sneak in a rare maiden – but was unable to dismiss any one of Kallis, Ryder, Taylor and Pietersen. The fine figures, too, didn’t result in victory for the team on this occasion. His ability to halt a blossoming cameo from the pinch-hitting Roelof van der Merwe, though, offered some individual consolation.
6. Dale Steyn, 4-0-8-3, Deccan v Bangalore, 2012
Conditions at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad were conducive to spin, but speedster Steyn insisted on the alternative. A small chase for the Royal Challengers soon became a tough task, as Man of the Match Steyn removed the dangerous Tillakaratne Dilshan early – and then West Indian Chris Gayle. His cartwheeling of tail-ender Zaheer Khan’s middle stump was a particular delight, which all but capped a comfortable victory for Deccan in what was their last match as a franchise.