The pitches in England were once known for swing and pace but the time has changed now. More and more pitches in the UK have become batsmen friendly and the records in the past couple of years show that batsmen enjoy their time out in the middle. In the upcoming World Cup, bowlers will have a tough time in England and spinners will have more role to play than pacers. On-road to World Cup 2019, we go back and have a look at top five wicket-takers in the history –
Glenn McGrath – The legendary pacer was a part of three World Cup winnings teams from 1999 to 2007 and it’s fair enough that he also tops the list of bowlers with most wickets in the history of World Cup.
In 39 matches, McGrath scalped a total of 71 wickets at 18.19. His best figures of 7/15 came against Namibia in 2003 World Cup, where Australia bundled out Namibia for paltry 45 after putting up 301/6 on the board.
Muttiah Muralitharan – Just like Sachin Tendulkar, 2011 World Cup final was also the last one for the Sri Lankan legend but he ended up on the losing side. The highest wicket-taker in the history of Test cricket with 800 scalps, Muralitharan bagged 68 wickets in World Cup history at 19.63.
In the final of World Cup 2011, he failed to take a wicket in eight overs that he bowled. Muralitharan was a part of the Sri Lankan team that had won the World Cup in 1996.
Wasim Akram – The left-arm pacer was an unstoppable force during his time and he finds himself third on the list of bowlers with most wickets in World Cup history. He scalped 55 wickets in 38 matches that he played in the tournament.
He was the highest wicket-taker in the 1992 World Cup that Pakistan won. In the final, Akram dismissed England opener Ian Botham on a duck and followed up with two more wickets. His final World Cup match came against Zimbabwe in 20003 that was washed out after just 14 overs.
Chaminda Vaas – The former Sri Lankan pacer scalped 49 wickets in 31 matches that he played in World Cup. Vaas was also a part of the 19996 final where Sri Lanka defeated Australia to win the trophy for the first time.
After a defeat in the final of 2007 World Cup, Vaas continued to play ODI cricket and played in final ODI in 2008, which came against Zimbabwe. The Sri Lankan legend created history in 2003 World Cup against Bangladesh as he became the first-ever bowler to take a hat-trick on first three balls of a match.
Zaheer Khan – The joint highest wicket-taker of 2011 World Cup with 21 scalps, Zaheer Khan is fifth on the list of most wickets in World Cup. The former left-arm pacer scalped 44 wickets in 23 matches in World Cup. He played three World Cups from 2003 to 2011.
Zaheer Khan was the prime reason behind India restricting Sri Lanka to 274/6 in the final. Though he went for runs in the death overs, he went for just six runs in his first five overs, thus creating pressure from one end on Sri Lankan batsmen.