It feels like yesterday that we were gearing up for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. It feels like yesterday that India and Sri Lanka were having a torrid time Down Under, suffering one defeat after another to Australia and New Zealand respectively. More importantly, not all of us have come out of the World Cup hangover as yet, where the trophy was passed along from India to Australia. In the end, time has come for us to welcome another year in our lives, and it is time for us to reflect on what the world of cricket had to offer this year. Amit Banerjee looks back at the One-Day Internationals (ODIs) that took place in 2015, and lists ten best bowlers in the 50-over format this year in order of the number of wickets taken this year.

Mitchell Starc © Getty Images
Mitchell Starc © Getty Images

1. Mitchell Starc:

Stats: Wickets (W): 41; Best bowling innings (BBI): 6/28; Average (Ave): 16.26; Economy (Eco): 4.61; Strike Rate (SR): 21.1

Starc, currently spearheading the Australian attack, was THE ODI bowler of the year by a significant distance. If Mitchell Johnson made 2014 his year, then Starc grabbed 2015 by its neck to make it his own. Starc’s watershed moment in his career so far was his run in the World Cup, in which he topped the chart 22 wickets (level with Trent Boult) with some incredible statistics to boast of (Ave: 10.18, Eco: 3.50, SR: 17.4). Also noteworthy was his performance in the triangular series involving India and England, in which he took 10 wickets in two consecutive matches. Following Johnson’s retirement from international cricket, Starc has cemented himself as Australia’s undisputed pace spearhead in all formats of the game.

Imran Tahir © Getty Images
Imran Tahir © Getty Images

2. Imran Tahir:

Stats: W: 37, BBI: 5/45, Ave: 25.18, Eco: 4.68, SR: 32.2

The guileful Pakistan-born South African leg-spinner is the second-highest wicket-taker this year with 22 scalps. Tahir, known for his wild, over-the-top celebrations aside from his ability to get important breakthroughs, was also the most capped player this year on this list with 22 appearances. Among Tahir’s best performances this year is his spell of 4 for 26 in the World Cup quarter-final that played an important role in dismissing the Sri Lankans for a mere 133, setting up a thumping 9-wicket victory and the Proteas’ first-ever victory in a World Cup knockout match.

Trent Boult © Getty Images
Trent Boult © Getty Images

3. Trent Boult:

Stats: W: 36, BBI: 5/27, Ave: 19.77, Eco: 4.44, SR: 26.6

Boult was New Zealand’s standout bowler this year and easily among the top three. Boult progressed his way to becoming the New Zealand’s pace spearhead as well, taking the mantle over from Tim Southee. Boult gave Starc intense competition during the World Cup, in which the duo had a cat-and-mouse game for top wicket-taker’s spot for the most part, with Starc eventually finishing on top due to superior averages despite finishing level with Boult in terms of wickets taken (22). Boult charted his rise during the build-up to the World Cup, and his performance in the mega-event should serve as one of the greatest phases of his career. The left-arm pacer easily has the best averages for the year among the top three in this list.

Wahab Riaz © Getty Images
Wahab Riaz © Getty Images

4. Wahab Riaz:

Stats: W: 32, BBI: 4/45, Ave: 27.43, Eco: 5.26, SR: 31.2

Who can forget his legendary spell to Shane Watson during the World Cup quarter-final at Adelaide earlier this year? While Pakistan continue to remain an unpredictable side, they can boast of a genuine fast bowler in Riaz capable of bowling some memorable spells and continuing the country’s trend of producing top-quality pacers with the right mix of speed, aggression and accuracy. Apart from his spell against Australia, he took 3 for 45 that helped them beat South Africa for the first-ever time in a World Cup match.

Steven Finn © Getty Images
Steven Finn © Getty Images

5. Steven Finn:

Stats: W: 31, BBI: 5/33, Ave: 27.67, Eco: 5.75, SR: 28.8

With 31 scalps to his credit, the lanky pacer is the fifth in the list as well as England’s standout performer with the ball this year. Finn was the second-highest wicket-taker in the triangular series featuring India and Australia, finishing behind Starc with 11 scalps and recording figures of 5 for 33 against India among his key performances. Finn’s other five-wicket haul was against Australia in England’s opening match of the World Cup against Australia (which even included a hat-trick), though his 5 for 71 would go in vain.

Morne Morkel © Getty Images
Morne Morkel © Getty Images

6. Morne Morkel:

Stats: W: 28, BBI: 4/39, Ave: 22.50, Eco: 4.69, SR: 28.7

Morkel’s credit for being among the top bowlers this year in ODIs has been his consistency. He was South Africa’s go-to fast bowler in their 50-over campaigns, from the World Cup (where he was the fifth-highest wicket-taker with 17 scalps), to the recent five-match ODI series against India, in which he took 4 for 39 runs at Rajkot to help South Africa take a 2-1 series lead before getting ruled out of the series due to injury scare.

Mustafizur Rahman © AFP
Mustafizur Rahman © AFP

7. Mustafizur Rahman:

Stats: W: 26, BBI: 6/43, Ave: 12.34, Eco: 4.26, SR: 17.3

If Starc was the undisputed hero of the year, Mustafizur was the sensation. He would have given Starc good competition for making the most impact in ODIs this year. Mustafizur’s off-cutters foxed Indians in what surely would count as a landmark series for him, recording 5 for 50 on debut before following it up with 6 for 43 to setup a historic series victory over neighbours, and ‘big brother’ India. The fact that a lot of his wickets have come against quality oppositions such as India and South Africa speaks for itself!

Josh Davey © Getty Images
Josh Davey © Getty Images

8. Josh Davey:

Stats: W: 21, BBI: 6/28, Ave: 18.33, Eco: 5.87, SR: 18.7

The only player from the Associate teams to feature in this list, Davey was remarkable in his in the 50-over format this year, and the bygone year should occupy a special place in his memory, one that he can proudly look back to long after he has retired. Davey took wickets against minnows as well as top-ranked sides alike, recording 3 for 40 and 4 for 68 against New Zealand and England respectively in the group stage of the World Cup. Before the World Cup, he also claimed 6 for 28 against Afghanistan at Dubai. With an average and strike-rate of 18, Davey is an easy pick in this list.

Kagiso Rabada © AFP
Kagiso Rabada © AFP

9. Kagiso Rabada:

Stats: W: 21, BBI: 6/16, Ave: 20.23, Eco: 4.87, SR: 24.9

Just like Mustafizur, Rabada has had an incredible first year in ODIs to boast of. From his haul of 6 for 16 on ODI debut (including a hat-trick) against Bangladesh to his superb spells in India, Rabada has marked himself as the next big thing in international cricketer. Rabada, who will turn 21 in the coming year, has all that it takes to be a spearhead — raw pace, aggression, ability to extract bounce even from unsupportive tracks and an attacking line and length. Additionally, his superb spell in the death overs of the first ODI against India showed his nerves of steel.

Mohammed Shami © © Getty Images
Mohammed Shami © © Getty Images

10. Mohammed Shami:

Stats: W: 19, BBI: 4/35, Ave: 20.63, Eco: 4.77, SR: 25.9

While Umesh Yadav was India’s highest ODI wicket-taker this year, Shami ranks ahead of him to feature in this list despite having being 6 wickets behind. A major reason for this is his disciplined approach, consistency as well as taking wickets against better oppositions. His 4 for 35 against Pakistan in the group stage of the World Cup, during which he took the crucial wickets of Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi, helped India win the game and extend their unbeaten run against their arch-rivals in the biggest event in cricket.

(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, travelling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)