Glenn Mcgrath, Muttiah Muralitharan, Wasim Akram, Chaminda Vaas, Zaheer Khan ICC World Cup
(From left) Zaheer Khan, Chaminda Vaas, Glenn Mcgrath, Muttiah Muralitharan, Wasim Akram (AFP/Getty Images)

With just over a couple of weeks remaining for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, we look at the bowlers who have taken the highest number of wickets in the tournament’s history.

Glenn Mcgrath Australia

Glenn Mcgrath – 71 wickets

Mcgrath is a World Cup legend. The Australian fast bowling great dazzled at ODI cricket’s biggest stage and collected 71 scalps in 39 matches. In his maiden appearance, McGrath seven matches and took six wickets. Then he took 20 wickets in the 1999 World Cup – the third most – to guide them to a second title. As Australia defended their crown in South Africa in 2003, Mcgrath again finished as the third-highest wicket taker with 21 scalps helping them remain unbeaten through the tournament. Then in his fourth and final World Cup appearance, the icon set a new benchmark – 26 wickets at 13.73 – the most in a single edition – to finish his ODI career as the man-of-the-tournament in 2007 as Australia completed a hat-trick of titles.

Muttiah Muralitharan Sri Lanka

Muttiah Muralitharan – 68 wickets

Muttiah Muralitharan, the all-time leading wicket-taker in ODIs, holds the record for the second most in World Cups. He’s been an integral part of Sri Lanka’s five World Cup campaigns, having played in 40 matches and taken 68 wickets at 19.63 with four four-wicket hauls. He managed 13 wickets from 11 matches in the 1996 and 1999 editions before surpassing that tally in 2003 with 17 wickets across 10 matches. In 2007, as Sri Lanka made the final, he was their leading performer among bowlers with 23 wickets in 10 matches. He again was the leading wicket-taker for his team in 2011 – his international swansong – 15 in 9 matches – leading them to a second straight final.

Wasim Akram Pakistan

Wasim Akram – 55 wickets

Wasim Akram is arguably the greatest left-arm pacer to have played the game. With 502 wickets, he’s the second-highest wicket taker in ODIs which is also the best among fast bowlers. He played in five World Cups and took 55 wickets at 23.83 – the third highest in the trophy’s history. In his debut World Cup in 1987, he claimed seven wickets in as many matches. However, in the next edition, he ran the show for Pakistan with 18 wickets in 10 matches as they became the world champions. When the World cup returned to the subcontinent, Akram had a forgettable outing, managing just three wickets from five matches. He put up a vastly improved show in 1999 with 15 wickets at 22.80 as Pakistan made the final. In 2003, he claimed 12 wickets at 16.75 as Pakistan exited in group stage.

Chaminda Vaas Sri Lanka

Chaminda Vaas – 49 wickets

The Sri Lanka fast bowling great is the fourth bowler in ODI history to claim 400 wickets. A world cup winner in his maiden stint, Chaminda Vaas didn’t have a fruitful outing. From his first two appearances at the quadrennial event, he took a combined 13 wickets from 11 matches. But, at the peak of his powers, he was justly rewarded with a then record 23 wickets taking Sri Lanka to the last-four stage where they were beaten by eventual champions Australia. Four years later in West Indies which was also his final stint at the major tournament, when Sri Lanka went one better, he finished as their third highest-wicket taker with 13 scalps from 10 matches.

Zaheer Khan India

Zaheer Khan – 44 wickets

Zaheer Khan is one of India’s finest fast bowlers who played in three World Cup tournaments. His first appearance at the marquee event was a bittersweet affair. With 18 scalps, he was India’s top and 2003 World Cup’s fourth highest wicket-taker but in the summit clash against Australia, he went wicketless and also leaked 67 runs in eight overs. The next edition was a disastrous campaign for India who exited in the group stage after losing two of their three matches with Zaheer taking five wickets. The pain of the first two events became a distant memory for the left-armer as he took 21 wickets – the joint-most at the 2003 World Cup – with India winning their second 50-over world cup trophy.