22.03.2019 Author: C.NAMASIVAYAMThe often repeated mantra in cricket is "Bowlers win matches". This is particularly true in the IPL where the team is packed with quality Indian and overseas bowlers. CSK has been particularly fortunate to have overseas bowlers of the competence of Muttiah Muralitharan, Ben Hilfenhaus, Ben Laughlin, Doug Bollinger, Makhaya Ntini, and Tim Southee.
During IPL matches, one would see the CSK Captain MS Dhoni cooly rotating his eminent overseas bowlers to restrict the opposition to a below par score. And the bowlers always delivered in crunch matches.
In this article, we discuss the 3 best overseas bowlers who have represented Chennai Super Kings in IPL history.
#3 Muttiah Muralitharan
Matches - 40, Wickets - 41, Economy - 6.30The Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan played in CSK's first match in IPL history. Ironically, his first IPL wicket was that of his countryman Kumar Sangakkara. One interesting statistic about Muralitharan is that in his first 8 IPL matches he completed his full quota of 4 overs every single time. He never conceded more than 33 runs in his spell in those 8 matches.
In fact, Muralitharan played in 15 matches in the inaugural IPL season in 2008. In all those matches, other than the one against the Mumbai Indians, Muralitharan completed his full quota of 4 overs. He finished his first IPL season with 12 wickets at an economy of 6.78.
Muralitharan started IPL 2009 with 3 wickets against RCB, conceding a mere 11 runs. CSK won that match by 92 runs. He took 14 wickets in the second edition of the IPL at a remarkable economy of 5.22.
In IPL 2010, Muralitharan was successful in prising out his countrymen Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews. In the semi-finals against Deccan Chargers, CSK were defending a modest total of 142 and all their bowlers including Muralitharan came to the party on that day.
Murali finished with figures of 4-0-16-1 while the other overseas bowler Doug Bollinger had wonderful bowling figures of 4-1-13-4.
In the finals against MI, the Sri Lankan once again displayed his skills with a spell of 4-0-17-1. He was part of CSK's maiden IPL triumph. The beauty about him was that he always gave his captain a 4-over spell in every match without being too expensive. He was a difficult bowler to dominate, even in the IPL.
Muralitharan is CSK's best overseas slow bowler in IPL history.
#2 Albie Morkel
Matches - 78, Wickets - 76, Economy - 8.10Albie Morkel represented CSK in IPL for 6 years from 2008 to 2013. He was an outstanding success for the franchise in his first 5 years as an all-rounder. In that period, he managed to take 68 wickets and score 781 runs.
Morkel's first 3 wickets in IPL were that of greats Virat Kohli, Adam Gilchrist, and AB de Villiers. Morkel was equally good with both the new and old ball. He was penetrative in the powerplay and economical at the death.
In fact, Albie shouldered the responsibility of being CSK's go-to death bowler all alone before Dwayne Bravo came into the scene. Morkel finished his first two IPL seasons with a total of 29 wickets.
In the semi-finals of IPL 2010 against Deccan Chargers, Morkel took the important wicket of Rohit Sharma.
In the finals against Mumbai Indians, Kieron Pollard was going great guns. He plundered 22 runs in the 18th over bowled by Chennai's most successful bowler of that edition, Doug Bollinger.
Morkel came on to bowl the 19th over with MI needing 33 in 12 balls. He bowled an excellent over, conceding just 6 runs and removing Kieron Pollard.
Morkel's contribution has always been a crucial blow either with the bat or ball at a crucial time. He had the knack of picking up the wickets of well-settled batsmen. In IPL 2011, Morkel contributed to CSK retaining the IPL trophy with 15 wickets .
Morkel is CSK's best overseas opening bowler of all time.
#1 Dwayne Bravo
Matches - 77, Wickets - 93, Economy - 8.43Dwayne Bravo is the designated death bowler in whichever team he plays for. He has a lot of variations in his armory including cutters, slower balls, surprise bouncers and deadly yorkers to deceive the ultra-aggressive batsmen at the death.
For CSK, he was not part of the winning squad in 2010 as he only joined the franchise in 2011. In his first season for CSK, he played in only 6 matches and took 6 wickets.
Bravo's best performance with the ball for CSK came in 2013 when he was the purple cap winner with 32 wickets. In that season, he took a haul of 3 or more wickets on 4 occasions. His wickets included Rohit Sharma (twice), Shane Watson (twice), Dinesh Karthik, Jacques Kallis, Ambati Rayudu, Eoin Morgan and Shaun Marsh.
In the 2013 final against Mumbai Indians, Bravo took 4 wickets but the CSK batsmen capitulated in the chase.
Bravo then got injured in CSK's first match of IPL 2014 and had to miss the entire season. But he came back with a bang in IPL 2015 with a wicket haul of 26.
In IPL 2015, Bravo had had his moments against the Mumbai Indians in the first qualifier when he captured the wickets of Parthiv Patel, Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard.
In IPL 2018, Bravo took Shakib Al Hasan's wicket both in the first qualifier and in the final, against SRH. Earlier in the league match between the two teams at Hyderabad, Bravo held his nerve in the last over, bowling to the rampaging Rashid Khan and earning CSK a narrow victory by 4 runs.
Apart from his exploits with the ball, Bravo won plenty of matches for CSK swinging the bat around in the final overs.
He is CSK's all-time best death bowler.