It’s one of those things that are repeated ad nauseam but hardly hold true. Twenty20 cricket hasn’t turned out to be the graveyard of bowlers as many feared.

In fact, over the last decade or so, it’s been proved beyond doubt, despite the wildly improvised strokes and the towering sixes, that the format has redefined bowling – throwing up bowlers who have revolutionised the game.

And one delightful aspect this season’s IPL is that it’s not just a few special names any more – a number of bowlers, including those whom many never expected to perform, are bringing their A-Game into the mix. Unlike some past editions of the tournament dominated by the likes of Lasith Malinga and Sunil Narine, who acquired the tags of being “T20 specialists”, this season is seeing bowlers of all ranges and shades among the wickets.

In fact, this year’s tournament has been a bowler’s IPL for an important reason – bowlers are attacking as a team and not relying on individual brilliance anymore.

The many-men armies

Take the case of Sunrisers Hyderabad, currently second on the table. Their Bangladeshi boy wonder Mustafizur Rahman’s virtues have already been extolled far and wide, but the Sunrisers are far from a one-man army.

Somewhat unobtrusively, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has also taken the same number of wickets as Rahman with almost a similar strike rate. And for support, they have been lucky to have the services of Barinder Sran and Ashish Nehra who have also been amongst the wickets and kept the runs down.

Another team to have followed this trend is the Gujarat Lions. Dwayne Bravo is a proven Twenty20 performer, and he deservedly tops their wicket-taker list with 12 wickets. But Dhawal Kulkarni’s impressive form has also played a large role in taking them to top of the table. Similarly, Delhi Daredevils’ resurgence this season has largely been due to the combination of Amit Mishra and Chris Morris, with the canny old fox Zaheer Khan leading from the front. And on Tuesday, Rising Pune Supergiants' Adam Zampa showed that good old-fashioned leg spin still has a place to play in the game, picking up 6/19 against the Sunrisers Hyderabad. It was the second best bowling performance in the history of the IPL, after Sohail Tanvir's 6/14 in the inaugural edition in 2008.

Contrast this with the Mumbai Indians, who are currently fifth. They possess the owner of the Purple Cap – New Zealand’s Mitchell McCleneghan’s snarling bowling has earned him 14 wickets. But despite his rich vein of form, the lack of support at the other end has cost Mumbai.

Jasprit Bumrah, despite his 11 wickets, has been steady rather than spectacular, while the other key bowling personnel Harbhajan Singh has gone AWOL so far this season. It’s a similar story with Royal Challengers Bangalore – apart from Shane Watson, who has been magnificent so far, no one else has managed to find any semblance of form.

Sputtering big guns

The bottom end of the bowlers' table throws up several surprises. Ravichandran Ashwin, Shakib Al Hasan and Ishant Sharma, all experienced international campaigners, make up the bottom three. Other big names are also languishing – comeback man Mohammad Shami was supposed to make his big return to the IPL but can only claim an economy rate of over nine runs per over.

Sunil Narine, with his remodelled action, still remains economical, but has lost the mystery of yore. And even Ravindra Jadeja has been outshone by his state team-mate Axar Patel, who took a hat-trick for struggling Kings XI Punjab against the Gujarat Lions.

And so, despite some scintillating batting performances (mostly from Virat Kohli), this has been a bowler’s IPL. And that has made for a more even contest between bat and bowl, instead of the tournament degenerating into a contest of who can hit harder and farther.