In shorter formats of cricket, batsmen usually get most of the attention, and this trend continues in the ongoing ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023. However, it’s important to recognize the crucial role that bowlers play, as successful World Cup performances rely heavily on strong bowling teams.
The saying that “batsmen win matches, but bowlers win tournaments” has proven to be true in World Cup victories by teams like India, Australia, and the West Indies. The ODI World Cup is the most prestigious platform for cricket, where many bowlers reach their peak form and establish records with their exceptional performances.
While the tournament has witnessed numerous top-tier bowlers, only a select few have consistently taken heaps of wickets in a single edition.
#1 Shahid Afridi (Pakistan) – 3 matches
Shahid Afridi’s presence on this list might surprise some, but he was a true all-rounder in his cricket career. He was excellent with his leg spin, taking 395 wickets in ODIs, which is more than any other Pakistani spinner.
In ODI World Cups, Afridi took 30 wickets in 24 matches. Although he played in five World Cups, his standout performance came in the 2011 World Cup held in the subcontinent.
During that tournament, he started with a brilliant five-wicket haul against Kenya, then took four wickets in a tight win against Sri Lanka.
Afridi continued his exceptional bowling by claiming another five-wicket haul against Canada. This achievement made him the first player ever to take 4 or more wickets in three consecutive ODI World Cup matches.
In the 2011 World Cup, Afridi ended up with a total of 21 wickets, tying with Zaheer Khan as the leading wicket-taker.
#2 Mohammed Shami (India) – 3 matches
It’s quite amazing to know that Mohammed Shami rarely goes without taking wickets in ODI World Cups. He has played in 12 matches and captured an impressive 36 wickets at an average of 15.02.
Even in the 2019 ODI World Cup, where he played just four games, Shami made a big impact. In those matches, he got four wickets in two games and five wickets in another.
In his first game of that tournament, he took four wickets, including a rare hat-trick, helping India win by a small margin of 11 runs. Now, in the 2023 ODI World Cup, he’s off to a strong start despite missing the first four games.
In the only match he played, against New Zealand, he managed to take five wickets, becoming the only Indian bowler with multiple five-wicket hauls in the tournament’s history.
#3 Adam Zampa (Australia) – 3* matches
Adam Zampa, a recent addition to the list, took four wickets in his third consecutive match against the Netherlands. This helped Australia win by a huge margin, with the Dutch scoring just 90 runs.
After a slow start in the 2023 ODI World Cup, Zampa found his form and took four wickets against Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the next two games. Australia’s next match is against New Zealand in Dharamsala.
If Zampa continues to perform well and gets four more wickets in that game, he will be the first bowler to achieve four or more wickets in four consecutive ODI World Cup matches.