In the high-octane world of ODI cricket, where batsmen often hog the limelight with their explosive strokes and high-scoring innings, it's easy to overlook the unsung heroes of the game – the bowlers.
However, it's imperative to recognize that bowlers are the real winners in an ODI match for several compelling reasons. Bowlers hold the key to stifling the opposition's batting line-up and creating opportunities for their team to succeed.
They must possess a blend of skill, precision, and strategy to outfox the best batsmen in the world, often under intense pressure.
Furthermore, bowlers play a pivotal role in maintaining the game's balance. They can turn the tide of a match with a crucial breakthrough or by consistently applying pressure through tight lines and lengths.
As the ODI World Cup comes closer, we would like to job your memory by listing down 5 of the highest wicket-takers in the ODI World Cup.
1) Glenn McGrath – 71 Wickets
Glenn McGrath was known for his metronomic accuracy and impeccable line and length, leaving an indelible mark on cricket's grandest stage. In three World Cup campaigns (1996, 1999, and 2007), McGrath scalped a remarkable 71 wickets, making him the highest wicket-taker in World Cup history at the time.
His impeccable bowling in pressure situations, especially in the final overs, made him a match-winner. McGrath's ability to consistently dismiss top-order batsmen earned him accolades, and his performances were pivotal in Australia's World Cup triumphs during his era, solidifying his status as an ODI cricket legend.
2) Muthiah Muralitharan – 68 Wickets
Muthiah Muralidaran, the Sri Lankan spin wizard, showcased his unparalleled talent in the ODI World Cup, etching his name in cricketing history. Throughout five World Cup tournaments (1996, 1999, 2003, 2007, and 2011), Murali spun his way to 68 wickets, making him the second-highest wicket-taker in World Cup history.
His mesmerizing variations, including the deadly doosra, bamboozled countless batsmen. Murali's ability to thrive on diverse pitches and adapt to varying conditions was a testament to his greatness.
3) Lasith Malinga – 56 Wickets
Lasith Malinga was not only a pace bowler from Sri Lanka, he was also the most feared pacer from the Lankan camp. With his unorthodox and deadly bowling style, Malings was part of five World Cup tournaments (2007, 2011, 2015, 2019, and 2023), Malinga terrorized batsmen, claiming 56 wickets, showcasing his ability to deliver lethal yorkers and perplexing slower balls.
His four-wicket haul in the 2011 final against India nearly led Sri Lanka to World Cup glory. Malinga's distinctive hairstyle and toe-crushing yorkers made him a crowd favourite.
4) Wasim Akram – 55 Wickets
Known as the “Sultan of Swing”, Wasim Akram delivered breathtaking performances in the ODI World Cup, earning his place among the tournament's all-time greats. In five World Cup appearances (1987, 1992, 1996, 1999, and 2003), Akram showcased his exceptional skills, taking 55 wickets.
His mastery of swing and seam and deadly pace made him a nightmare for batsmen. During Pakistan’s triumph in the 1992 World Cup, Akram played a pivotal role with both bat and ball in the final. Akram's charisma, match-winning abilities, and versatility made him an iconic figure in the annals of ODI World Cup history.
5) Mitchell Starc – 49 Wickets
In 2010, a young lanky kid made his debut for Australia as a pace bowler and soon became the most feared bowler in the ODI format. Mitchell Starc has graced us with his presence in three ODI World Cups and has been part of 18 fixtures.
Overall, he has picked up 49 wickets in the ODI World Cups. The 2023 ODI World Cup is expected to be the last dance for Starc and considering his recent performances, he will be a major attraction for the crowd.