• Home
  • Top Most
  • List Of Bowlers With Most Wickets In Every Cricket World Cup Edition

List Of Bowlers With Most Wickets In Every Cricket World Cup Edition

image-ljq9cvyhMitchell Starc early strikes in 2015 World Cup final won it for Australia

While batters may win matches, it’s the bowlers whose artistry and mettle can win their teams the biggest of tournaments. Speaking of tournaments, no other ICC limited-overs event has matched the grandeur and impact of an ODI World Cup.

As history suggests, some of the greatest bowlers have time and again emerged as the catalysts behind their team’s World Cup success, be it Wasim Akram from 1992, Glenn McGrath from 2003, or Zaheer Khan from 2011.

As we inch closer to 2023 World Cup in India, here at OneCricket we look back at the leading wicket-takers, or in some cases, tournament-winning bowlers from each World Cup edition played out thus far.

Most Wickets in Each World Cup Edition

Gary Gilmour - 11 wickets in 1975

image-ljzngdtsGilmour was Australia's main man in CWC 1975 (Twitter)

Late Gary Gilmour turned up for Australia in just two matches of the inaugural ODI World Cup back in 1975, and the all-rounder made them both count. The left-arm speedster blew away England in the semi-final with a career-best 6-14. He snared another five-fer in the final against West Indies to finish the tournament with 11 wickets from just two outings.

While Gilmour finished the event as its highest wicket-taker, his side faltered in the title clash against a strong West Indies line-up.

Mike Hendrick - 10 wickets in 1979

image-ljznimk2England’s Hendrick scalped 10 wickets in the second-ever WC (Twitter)

England’s Mike Hendrick, with his crafty seam and control, emerged as a true bowling maestro of the 1979 World Cup. Reaping the benefits of familiar home conditions, the late Englishman collected 10 wickets throughout the tournament, including two in the final.

However, much like Gilmour from 1975, Hendrick’s team also perished against West Indies in the summit clash.

Roger Binny - 18 wickets in 1983

image-ljq95s7dRoger Binny celebrates Clive Lloyd's wicket in the 1983 final (Twitter)

Roger Binny was one of the cogent forces behind India’s 1983 World Cup triumph, where they stunned a powerful West Indies unit in pursuit of its third successive trophy.

The all-rounder bagged 18 wickets throughout the 16-day event, and delivered a tight match-winning spell of 1-23 in the final. He also claimed his career-best figures in the tournament, with his 4-29 against Australia in a must-win game paving India’s subsequent path towards title glory.

Craig McDermott - 18 wickets in 1987

image-ljznlg3fMcDermott snared 18 wickets in 1987's pinaccle event (Twitter)

Australian fast bowler Craig McDermott replicated Roger Binny’s 1983 success at the 1987 event in India. The then 22-year-old snared 18 wickets in the competition, and levelled up with Binny in collecting most wickets in any single edition of a World Cup at the time.

Much like the Indian all-rounder, McDermott also stood tall with his teammates at the winner’s podium after Australia defeated England in the final at India’s Eden Gardens.

Wasim Akram - 18 wickets in 1992

image-ljq951wmWasim Akram with his POTM award after the 1992 final (Twitter)

Legendary Wasim Akram swung it both ways on bouncy Australian pitches at the 1992 World Cup. The Pakistani speedster left devastation at his wake, no matter the opponent, no matter the stage. His twin unplayable peaches to remove Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis jolted England in the final, and changed the complexion of the match in a space of two deliveries.

In all, Akram finished the competition with 18 wickets and a World Cup to show for, with the latter of the two marking one of Pakistan’s greatest cricketing achievements to date.

Anil Kumble - 15 wickets in 1996

image-ljznn2iqKumble had a ball during 1996 WC in India (Twitter)

Spin legend Anil Kumble struck 15 times at the 1996 World Cup, jointly hosted by Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka. Being two wickets ahead of second-placed Waqar Younis, Kumble became the first-ever spinner to finish a World Cup tournament as its highest wicket-taker.

The Indian team, however, could not justify his splendid bowling campaign as they larruped to a huge defeat to eventual winners Sri Lanka at the semi-final.

Geoff Allott and Shane Warne - 20 wickets each in 1999

image-ljq948hmShane Warne poses with the Waugh brothers after WC win (Twitter)

New Zealand pacer Geoff Allott and Australian spin wizard Shane Warne emerged as the joint highest wicket-takers of the 1999 World Cup in England. However, it was Warne who ran away with bragging rights to a World Cup trophy, and even with a ‘Player of the Match’ award at the final.

His match-winning spell of 4-33 dismantled Pakistan for just 132 at the title clash, a total easily overhauled by the Australians later to script the most one-sided win in World Cup final history.

Chaminda Vaas - 23 wickets in 2003 World Cup

image-ljznp0uuThanks to Vaas' performance, SL reached semifinal in 2003 (Twitter)

Sri Lankan veteran Chaminda Vaas was at his imperial best at the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. The speedster claimed 23 victims in his side’s semi-final crusade, with the most memorable of his performances being the six-wicket haul he picked against Bangladesh.

Vaas registered a hat-trick in the first three balls of that match, thus becoming the first in ODI history to do so. Despite being the leading wicket-taker of that tournament, the Sri Lankan speed demon was overshadowed by Australian pace trio of Brett Lee, Glenn McGrath, and Andy Bichel with their dominant World Cup-winning run.

Glenn McGrath - 26 wickets in 2007 World Cup

image-ljq90qxcMcGrath was at his usual best in 2007 WC in West Indies (Twitter)

Glenn McGrath, with his unwavering precision, dismantled the best of batting line-ups across the Caribbean in 2007. With a staggering 26 wickets, including a match-winning spell of 3-18 against South Africa in the semis, the legendary paceman helmed a potent bowling attack to engineer a hat-trick of World Cup titles for his side.

The final marked a fairytale end to his illustrious ODI journey, as his victorious run solidified his status as one of the all-time greats of the game, if he was not one already.

McGrath’s 2007 haul of 26 scalps also extended his tournament tally to 71 wickets, making him the highest wicket-taker across all World Cup matches.

Shahid Afridi and Zaheer Khan - 21 wickets in 2011 

image-ljq91fxxZaheer Khan celebrates a WI wicket with teammates in 2011 WC (Twitter)

Pakistan spinner Shahid Afridi and Indian paceman Zaheer Khan snared 21 wickets each across the 2011 World Cup co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. While Afridi won the race courtesy of his better average, Khan finished the competition at the winner’s podium along with the rest of his Indian teammates.

The legendary fast bowler unleashed match-winning spells against West Indies, Ireland and a match-saving one against England, all during the Group Stage of the tournament. Khan also stood up in the knockouts, handing his side some crucial breakthroughs in quarter-final, semi-final and final showdowns against Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka respectively.

Mitchell Starc and Trent Boult - 22 wickets in 2015

image-ljznspnrStarc was a tearaway pacer in 2015 CWC (Twitter)

For the second time in succession, a World Cup event finished with two bowlers as its joint highest wicket-takers. Both Mitchell Starc and Trent Boult devastated opponents at will, with their electric five-fers against each other’s teams in a low-scoring Group A thriller being one of the highlights of the 2015 ODI spectacle.

The two premier fast bowlers claimed 22 wickets each throughout the competition. However, it was Starc who shone the brightest amongst the two in the final. He single-handedly made a 93,000-MCG crowd go berserk upon dismantling Kiwi skipper Brendon McCullum’s stumps for a duck.

His team was ultimately crowned champions in front of their home crowd, and the speedster himself has a ‘Player of the Tournament’ award to remember his triumphant run.

Mitchell Starc - 27 wickets in 2019

image-ljq92hf7Mitchell Starc in action against England at 2019 WC (Twitter)

In 2019, Mitchell Starc finished miles ahead of anyone else in the wicket-taking race. With 27 scalps, he was six wickets clear of second-placed Lockie Ferguson. While he somehow one-upped his own individual World Cup performance from the previous edition, his team failed to defend its title as they lost to eventual winners England in the semi-final.