After finishing second last in the opening season, Kumble and his side were out to prove a point in South Africa and in their opening game, defending 134 on a tricky Cape Town pitch, he triggered a lower-order collapse with a spell of 3.1-1-5-5. "We oldies can have our days too," Kumble would later write in his column for the Hindu, also referring to Dravid's fighting 66 off 48, performances that would prove portentous for their memorable run to the final that season.
Super Kings were out to defend their IPL title on their home turf and were set up by their openers, who put on a 159-run stand to take them to 205. However, the strongest top order in the competition stood in their way, and Ashwin ensured there were no hiccups. In a game where nearly nine runs were scored every over, he finished with an economy rate of four and his figures to Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers read thus - 9 balls, 3 runs, 1 wicket.
Both sides needed a win in their penultimate league fixture to cement their play-off berth. Chasing 140 on a Wankhede deck where the side batting second had won the previous five games, Mumbai were off to a slow start. After going for six off his first over in the Powerplay, Narine came back on in the 11th, with Mumbai cruising. He choked the run flow, dismissed Sachin Tendulkar with a straighter one and then, by getting rid of Harbhajan Singh and Rohit Sharma in the 18th over, all but sealed the game for Knight Riders.
In pursuit of 120 on a slow Pune surface, the hosts were on track with just 19 needed from the last three overs and five wickets in hand. By all accounts, Sunrisers had no right to win this game, until Mishra came along to bowl the penultimate over. He removed Angelo Mathews off his second ball and then shot through the tail with a hat-trick to put the seal on one of the most emphatic game-changing performances the IPL has ever seen.
Tanvir's spell is, statistics-wise, the best ever in the IPL. With his awkward action, he extracted prodigious movement off the Jaipur pitch, trapping both Super Kings openers lbw in the very first over. The batting side never recovered from his opening spell - which read 2-0-2-3 - and could only labour to 96 for 7 by the time he came back in the 17th. A slow, dipping delivery got rid of a set Albie Morkel, before he went on to polish off the tail.
In a semi-final, with just 142 to defend against Gilchrist, Gibbs and co., Bollinger bowled 18 dot balls out of 24, four of them resulting in wickets. Supported by Muralitharan and Ashwin, who stemmed the run flow with combined figures of 8-0-30-2, Bollinger's Man-of-the-Match winning spell set Super Kings on course for their first IPL title.
Bhuvneshwar's is the only wicketless spell on this list, and for good reason. In a manic final where both sides scored at more than 10 runs per over, his spell brought a sense of sanity amid all the ridiculous hitting. Not a single batsman could score more than a run-a-ball against his wicket-to-wicket bowling. His calm head in the slog overs ensured Sunrisers secured their maiden IPL title, winning by eight runs.
Super Kings hadn't won a single game in Durban that season, and MS Dhoni went ahead with a three-man spin attack, bringing in a young Ashwin in place of Makhaya Ntini. Defending just 117 after a disastrous middle-order collapse, Super Kings' spin attack repaid their captain's faith but it was Murali's experience that made the biggest impact. His 4-0-8-2 is the third-most economical four-over spell in IPL history.
Kings XI could only manage 134 in 20 overs and Chargers were coasting towards their target. Running out of ideas with Herschelle Gibbs and Andrew Symonds at the crease, Yuvraj introduced himself as the sixth bowler of the innings. The gamble paid immediate dividends with Gibbs being caught at point off the last ball of the over. Yuvraj began his second spell dismissing Symonds and Venugopal Rao off successive balls and in the process getting his second hat-trick of the season. Chargers would go on to lose the game by a solitary run, and the Yuvraj was named Man of the Match for his bowling, for once.
Searing toe-crushers, swing both prodigious and late, that mandatory wicket off a deceptive slower ball - Malinga brought out his bag of tricks in a magical spell on a slow Delhi track, putting the home side out of the game within the first six overs. In the end, Mumbai cantered to a eight-wicket win, after Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma composed steady knocks against a four-man pace attack.