Cricket used to be a batters’ game, but the bowlers also started making a mark over the years. As the 50-over format came on, the bowlers also improvised there, often shining with the white ball. As the ODI World Cup became prominent, the batters started to dominate more and more. Nevertheless, here too, the bowlers started to come up with new tactics, often beating batters in their own game.

We will look at some of the finest names whose game evolved according to the 50-over format. Unsurprisingly, their best came at the biggest stage – the ODI World Cup. Who will claim the most wickets in the 2023 World Cup? Make your outright predictions on an ODI World Cup betting platform and win cash rewards during cricket’s mega event. 

Highest Wicket-takers in ODI World Cup

Well, the names in this list are as diverse as they can get. We have an orthodox fast bowler, and then we also have an unorthodox spinner whose action created quite a furor in world cricket. Australia’s Glenn McGrath tops this list.

The table below shows ten bowlers; we will look at the five of them in detail later on.

PlayerInnsWktsEconStrike RateBest Figures5-wicket Hauls
Glenn McGrath39713.9627.537/152
Muttiah Muralitharan39683.8830.304/190
Lasith Malinga28565.5124.896/381
Wasim Akram36554.0435.405/281
Mitchell Starc18494.6419.126/283
Chaminda Vaas31493.9732.046/251
Zaheer Khan23444.4727.114/420
Javagal Srinath33444.3238.64/300
Imran Tahir21404.4128.775/451
Trent Boult19394.6128.305/271

Let us look at the top five bowlers in detail: 

  • Glenn McGrath

    This Aussie speedster played the tournament for the first time in 1996. Though he had a simple bowling action, McGrath was a deadly bowler. By 2007, he had created a legacy of his own. The Aussie played 39 matches, picking up 71 wickets at a fantastic strike rate of 27.5. He went on to lift the trophy three consecutive times – 1999, 2003, and 2007.

McGrath’s wicket tally in each ODI World Cup:

  1. 1996 World Cup – 6 wickets
  2. 1999 World Cup – 18 wickets
  3. 2003 World Cup – 21 wickets
  4. 2007 World Cup – 26 wickets

  • Muttiah Muralitharan

Muttiah Muralitharan created quite a furor when he made his World Cup debut in 1996. The unorthodox action caught many of the batters unaware. Moreover, he gave batters nightmarish time on subcontinent pitches. He played 40 World Cup matches, picking up 68 wickets. The legendary spinner also picked four four-wicket hauls in the tournament. He won the World Cup with Sri Lanka in 1996.

How many Asia Cups have Muralitharan and Sri Lanka won so far? Check out the Asia Cup winners list 1984 to 2022.

  • Lasitha Malinga

    His compatriot Lasith Malinga is third on this list. Just like Muralitharan, his bowling action too caught the eye of many. Nevertheless, thanks to this action, he managed to pick wickets regularly. 

Malinga’s slinger action helped him in his first year at the World Cup in 2007, where he picked up four wickets off four balls against South Africa in Guyana. He played a key role as Sri Lanka reached the final in 2007 and has 56 wickets in 29 ODI World Cup matches.

  • Wasim Akram

Known as the ‘Sultan of Swing,’ this Pakistan legend could obtain reverse swing with the old ball. For that reason, he has 55 wickets in 38 ODI World Cup matches with best figures of 5/28. He won the tournament in 1992 under Imran Khan and captained Pakistan in the 1996 and 1999 editions. 

  • Mitchell Starc

The Aussie speedster made his World Cup debut in 2015 and would go on to win the trophy at home under the leadership of Michael Clarke. Unsurprisingly, he played a crucial role in the 2019 World Cup, picking up 27 wickets in ten matches. Yes, he was the top wicket-taker that year.

Starc is an outstanding performer, but in the World Cup, he is even better, picking up wickets every 19 balls. He has a personal best of 6/28. He has claimed 49 wickets in just 18 ODI World Cup outings.

Starc, Boult, Tim Southee, Shakib Al Hasan, etc., will look to add more wickets to their tally in the upcoming World Cup.

Concluding Thoughts

Most names in the highest wickets chart bowlers belong to traditional powerhouse bowling teams like Pakistan and Australia. Nevertheless, India, who didn’t have great bowlers in the ranks in the 90s, has two pacers in the second half of the table. Sri Lanka, too, has two players in the top five.

By Grace