After what felt like an eternity, the 2019 edition of the ICC World Cup is finally upon us. All eyes are set on the clash of titans in the world’s biggest cricketing battle. But before the battle begins, this is a perfect time to look back at some of the most memorable bowling features of the tournament’s history. Bowling is the most underrated job in cricket. Batsman always hog the limelight with impressive batting, but bowlers rarely get their due when they have equal impact on the game. In fact, cricketers have proved to be pivotal in a team’s World Cup campaigns. On that note, let us check out the bowlers with most wickets in world cup.
List of 11 Players with Most Wickets in the World Cup since 1975 Edition
Gary Gilmour, 1975 (11 wickets)
Hailing from Australia, Gary Gilmour played 15 Tests and 5 One Day Internationals (ODIs) between 1973 and 1977. Would you believe this left-arm swing bowler bagged 11 wickets in two matches in his first world stage tournament in 1975? Despite playing just two matches, he grabbed 11 wickets. A career which spanned just four years, Gilmour produced 6 for 14 against England and 5 for 48 against West Indies in Prudential Cup (now ICC World Cup) at 1975. With those figures, he became the highest wicket-taker of the tournament.
Mike Hendrick, 1979 (10 wickets)
Standing at 6’3”, Mike Hendrick was considered as the most consistent bowlers in England at his era. He was spearhead bowler for Englishmen with his ability to swing the ball with clad pace and generate substantial bounce. He stands as the highest wicket-taking bowler at 1979 World Cup, England. Mike Hendrick’s best bowling figures 4-15 were achieved against Pakistan. He also bagged 3 for 55 against New Zealand and 2 for 50 against the West Indies. Hendrick gave away just five runs from eight overs and was rewarded with a wicket in a game against Canada.
Roger Binny, 1983 (18 wickets)
The star of Indian roaster who won the World Cup under captaincy of Kapil Dev, Roger Binny proved his mettle in the tournament. He was emerged as the leading wicket-taker of this edition with 18 wickets to his name. Binny played eight matches during India’s road to World Cup glory, with his best performance coming against Australia where he finished with 4 for 29 in the quarter-final. Did you know, Binny was the first Anglo-Indian to play cricket for India?
Craig McDermott, 1987 (18 wickets)
After two disappointing World Cups in 1979 and 1983 when they failed to make the semi-finals, Australia were back into the last four in the 1987 tournament held in the Indian sub-continent for the first time. Kangaroos fought hard and won their maiden World Cup. Courtesy: Craig McDermott! The prolific right-arm fast bowler managed to take 18 wickets in the tournament. The bowling coach for the Australian team between 2011 and 2016 began the 1987 contest with 4 for 56 against India. He took another 3/61 against India. His five-fifer against Pakistan in the semi-final, led him to the Man of the Match award.
Wasim Akram, 1992 (18 wickets)
Who will forget the over of Wasim Akram in 1993’s World Cup where he bowled an over in which he trapped Alam Lamb and Chris Lewis back to back deliveries? Wasim Akram, a left-arm fast bowler from Pakistan became the highest wicket taker (18) in 1992 World Cup. Sultan of Swing who could bowl with significant pace spellbound every batsman in the tournament. The World Cup hosted by Australia and New Zealand was won by Pakistan. This was the World Cup when Akram came to the notice of the world.
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Anil Kumble, 1996 (15 wickets)
Didn’t you surprise after reading this name? The spin wizard of India was the highest wicket taker in 1996 World Cup. Although India failed to make it into the finals, two Indian players surpassed the charts for most runs and wickets. Tendulkar scored 523 runs and Anil Kumble managed to take 15 wickets. With an average of 18 Kumble with his spin magic grabbed three wicket hauls against Kenya and West Indies. Another three wicket haul was followed in a match against Pakistan. The year 1996 was extremely successful for Kumble as he went on to claim 61 ODI wickets. He in the rooster of all the seven matches that India played.
Shane Warne and Geoff Allott, 1999 (20 wickets)
The 1999 Cricket World Cup in England was the first to witness, two bowlers sharing the awards for the top wicket-takers spot. The Australian magician, Shane Warne and Geoff Allott, the New Zeland’s pacer both shares the award for making 20 wickets in the World Cup. Geoff Allott played a crucial role for New Zealand in the first half of the tournament. On the other hand, Shane Warne, impressed everyone with his spin magic.
Allott however played a game less than Warne. Allott bagged a couple of four-wicket-hauls – against Australia and Pakistan. On other side, Warne claimed 3/39 against Scotland and 3/11 against the West Indies. Taking 4/29 against South Africa in the semis and 4/33 against Pakistan in the final helped Australia to lift the trophy.
Chaminda Vaas, 2003 (23 wickets)
The left arm fiery bowler of Sri Lanka is in the list too. With an economy of just 3.76, Vaas had a spectacular 2003 World Cup tournament in South Africa. He was one of the biggest match winners for Sri Lanka in the entire tournament. He delivered his best performance against Bangladesh, knocking them for 124 with outstanding figures of 6/25 which included a hat-trick. This feat was followed with 3/41 (Kenya) and 3/15 (Canada) to compliment with 4/22 against West Indies.
Glenn McGrath, 2007 (26 wickets)
He was Australia’s greatest bowler. Glenn McGrath participated in 39 innings out of 39 matches for the Australian cricket team in ICC World Cups during his active bowling career spanning from 1996 to 2007. His last World Cup saw him bagging 26 wickets making him the highest wicket taker of the tournament. Due to his heroic bowling, Australia won the World Cup 2007 World Cup hosted by West Indies. He was the most consistent bowler and provided major breakthroughs, whenever he had the ball in his hand. McGrath signed off with a performance to remember with an economy of 4.41 and claiming 26 wickets. Do you know, he emerged six times with a three-wicket-haul?
Zaheer Khan and Shahid Afridi, 2011 (21 wickets)
A rare combination indeed! Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi and India’s Zaheer Khan were the joint highest wicket-takers of the 2011 Cricket World Cup. Zaheer Khan is been one of the irreplaceable bowler India has ever produced. The left-arm bowler was as a leader of the Indian pace attack picked up 21 wickets in 2011 World Cup. His stellar performance cemented the way for India’s victory in the tournament.
On the other side Shahid Afridi had 21 wickets in his bag. He was the man who was selected as a batsman turned out to be Pakistan’s all-rounder in the tournament. His fast-paced leg spinners proved lethal on many instances.
Mitchell Starc and Trent Boult, 2015 (22 wickets)
The pace attack from Oceania! Two fiery bowler one common trait: Left-arm bowling. The last edition of the World Cup saw Mitchell Starc from Australia and Trent Boult from New Zealand jointly claiming 22 wickets in 2015 edition.
Boult took 5/24 against Australia. He went on to claim 3/34 against Afghanistan and 4/44 against West Indies. On other hand, Starc was quick and went for 6/28 against New Zealand. He had 4/14 against Scotland too. Against India in the semifinal, Starc picked up 2/28 and in the final choked New Zealand with 2/20.
Gary Gilmour bagged the most wickets (11 wickets) in two matches in his first world stage tournament in 1975.
Wasim Akram took the most wickets in the 1992 WC. He took 18 wickets in the World Cup during 1992.
The last edition of the World Cup saw Mitchell Starc from Australia and Trent Boult from New Zealand jointly claiming 22 wickets in 2015 edition.
Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi and India’s Zaheer Khan were the joint highest wicket-takers of the 2011 Cricket World Cup.