Top 10 bowling figures in World Cup history

From Glenn McGrath's 7 for 15 to Ashish Nehra's 6 for 23, the Cricket World Cup has witnessed some magical spells of bowling.

Andy Bichel celebrates an English wicket at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth, where he took 7 for 20 in the 2003 World Cup.   -  AFP

World Cups over the years have witnessed some of the best bowling spells in One-Day International cricket. Some of the most prominent bowlers have blown away batting line-ups with their control and ability to swing and seam the ball. Here, Sportstar looks at 10 of the best bowling spells in the history of Cricket World Cups.

Glenn McGrath - Australia vs Namibia, Potchefstroom, 2003 (7 overs, 15 runs, 7wickets, 4 maidens)

The 2003 ICC World Cup featured the most five-wicket hauls in any edition. It can be considered as a bowlers’ World cup. McGrath, the all-time leading wicket taker at the World cup, also owns the record for the best figures at the tournament. Though it came against an associate side like Namibia, this was a lethal spell with the new ball where the Australian great bowled 7 overs on the trot from the same end. Australia made 301 for 6 batting first and McGrath kept bowling in-swingers and out-swingers on the off stump line and troubled the Namibia batting line-up. In one of the best ‘keeper-bowler combinations for dismissals, Adam Gilchrist took fourcatches of McGrath’s bowling in this match.

Andy Bichel - Australia vs England, Port Elizabeth, 2003 (10 overs, 20 runs, 7 wickets)

This spell, too, came at the 2003 ICC World cup in a high-profile match. Five out of the seven wickets were of past, present and future captains. And moreover this was a very close match in which Australia won by two wickets with two balls in hand and Bichel took seven out of the eight England wickets to fall that day. England was cruising at one stage at 66 for no loss in 9.4 overs but then Bichel tilted the balance of the match. England was reduced to 87 for 5 with Bichel playing a starring role in Australia’s comeback. He returned to the attack to break a 90-run sixth-wicket partnership between Alec Stewart and Andrew Flintoff to give Australia the upper hand.

Tim Southee - New Zealand vs England, Wellington, 2015 (9 overs, 33 runs, 7 wickets)

In the 2015 ICC World cup, New Zealand won all its games en route to the final. And its bowling attack contributed immensely in its run to the final. In this game, England won the toss and chose to bat first on a good batting track. All of England’s plans were crushed by Southee. Right from the word go he troubled the English batsmen with his outswingers. He bowled four English batsman with such balls including two swinging Yorkers. Southee’s seven-wicket haul helped New Zealand bowl England out for 123.

Winston Davis - West Indies vs Australia, Leeds, 1983 (10.3 overs, 7 wickets, 51 runs)

The West Indies team of the 70s and 80s under Clive Lloyd is considered to be the best in the world, along with the Australian team of late-90s and 2000s. The likes of Andy Roberts, Michael Holding and Malcolm Marshallformed a potent bowling attack, but this extraordinary bowling performance came from a lesser-known back-up bowler, Winston Davis. West Indies had made 252 batting first. Australia was 55 for 1 when Davis was introduced to the attack. He had played only one other ODI in his career, but sparked a turnaround for the West Indies by getting the prized scalp of Hughes. Later, he broke the 59-run third-wicket partnership between David Hookes and Graeme Yallop before removing Allan Border cheaply. He cleaned up the Australian tail in no time and led the Windies to a 101-run win.

Read: 10 captains, one crown, game on

Gary Gilmour - Australia vs England, Leeds, 1975 (12 overs, 6 wickets, 14 runs, 6 maidens)

This was only the second five-wicket haul in World cup history in what wasonly the 31 ODI match ever. This is also the most economical five-wicket haul in World cup history and it came in the semifinals of the inaugural edition. The England batsmen had prepared themselves for Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thompson but Gary Gilmour took the spotlight that day. Left-arm swing bowler Gilmour was assisted by the cool breeze at Headingley andbowled 12 straight overs and had figures of 6 for 10 in nine overs at onestage. England was bundled out for 93 and Australia found was 39 for sixwhile chasing. Gilmour came in and the left-hander won the match for Australia with a valuable unbeaten 28. This was one of the greatest all-round performances in World cup history. Gilmour took another five-wicket haul in the final against West Indies in a losing cause.


Ashish Nehra was at his penetrative best against England at Kingsmead in Durban.   -  V. V. Krishnan


Ashish Nehra - India vs England, Durban, 2003 (10 overs, 6 wickets, 23 runs, 2 maidens)

Injuries hampered Nehra’s career to a large extent but every time he was back from an injury he made things happen. In this game, India had made 250 for 9 against England and the onus was on the bowlers to defend the total on a Durban pitch that assisted them. Nehra didn’t try anything different, stuck to the basics, bowled over the wicket and angled the ball away from the many right handers in the England line-up. Five out of his six wickets were either caught by the keeper or at slip as he executed his plans to perfection. He kept it very tight and the only 35-plus-run partnership in England’s innings came after Nehra had completed his spell. In the end India won the game by a 82-run margin thanks mainly to the left-arm pacer from Delhi.

Shane Bond - New Zealand vs Australia, Port Elizabeth, 2003 (10 overs, 6 wickets, 23 runs, 2 maidens)

The Australian top order in 2003 comprising Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn had all made over 300 runs.But in a Super six fixture, Bond rattled through that experienced top order and almost won the game for his team. Bond had a simple action and hadexpress pace to soften the batsmen up. The six wicket-taking balls of Bond were over 145kmph. When Bond finished his spell, Australia was reeling at 88 for 7 in 29 overs but the Blackcaps let go of a glorious opportunity to beat the eventual champion. The right-arm pacer was named the man of the match back then but he would have traded that for a win.

Chaminda Vaas - Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh, Pietermaritzburg, 2003 (9.1 overs, 6 wickets, 25 runs, 2 maidens)

Sri Lanka has traditionally had a couple of quality spinners who have been the difference-makers for their team. In the fast-bowling department,Chaminda Vaas was one bowler who delivered consistently. He didn’t have express pace but he relied on swing and was always backed by his captain to take wickets early on with the new ball, which is what he exactly didagainst Bangladesh in 2003. Vaas took four wickets in five balls in his very first over and all four were inswingers to the right hander. He also became the first player ever to take a hat trick in the first three balls in International cricket that day. He took one more wicket with the new ball in his third over and came back to bundle out Bangladesh for 124 by picking up the last wicket of Mashrafe Mortaza.

Kemar Roach - West Indies vs Netherlands, Delhi, 2011 (8.3 overs, 6 wickets, 27 runs)

This was another hat-trick in the World cup and it came from a West Indies pacer. Batting first, West Indies made 330 for eight. Already facing a mammoth task, Kemar Roach was hard to face for the Netherlands batsmen that day. He mostly bowled full, fast and straight and rattled the Associate side with timely wickets. Five out of his six wickets were either bowled or leg-before. He nailed the yorkers that day and took the hat-trick by dismissing the last three Holland batsmen.

10) Mitchell Starc - Australia vs New Zealand, Auckland, 2015 (9 overs, 6 wickets, 28 runs)

Mitchell Starc was the player of the tournament in the 2015 edition and one of his best bowling performances came against New Zealand in the group stage. Batting first, Australia was bowled out for 151 in 32.2 overs withleft-arm pacer Trent Boult taking a five-wicket haul. Starc was one better by picking six and he almost won the match for Australia. New Zealand wascruising at 78 for 1 in 7.3 overs and 131 for 4 in 19.3 overs at two different points and looked set to win the game convincingly but the Australian pacerturned the match on its head. He was aggressive, bowled full and swung the ball both ways. Four of his six wickets were bowled and the New Zealand batsmen didn’t have much of an answer to Starc’s blistering pace and unerring accuracy. Though Kane Williamson held his nerve and won the game for New Zealand. Starc’s spell will remain as one of the greatest ever.

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