Left-arm fast bowlers are considered as 'X-factors' in the world of cricket. They have a unique bowling angle which allows them to trouble both right-handed as well as left-handed batsman.
With the emergence of T20 format, the demand for left-arm pacers is now greater than ever before. If we look at successful international teams or IPL franchises, all of them have left-arm fast bowlers in the side.
A closer look at the World Cup 2019 squads reveals that almost every team has a left-armer who is an integral part of the team's bowling department. Pakistan have Mohammad Amir, Shaheen Afridi and Wahab Riaz, Australia have Jason Behrendorff and Mitchell Starc, New Zealand have Trent Boult, West Indies have Sheldon Cottrell, Bangladesh have Mustafizur Rahman while Sri Lanka have Isuru Udana.
Throughout history there have been several left-arm fast bowlers who have dominated the World Cup. Here's a look at the 3 most successful left-arm fast bowlers in World Cup history -
#3 Zaheer Khan
Matches - 23, Wickets - 44, Maidens - 12, Best Bowling Figures - 4/42
India's greatest left-arm pacer Zaheer Khan had a terrific World Cup career. He kicked off his World Cup journey in Africa in 2003 and ended it with a memorable campaign in 2011.
Zaheer was a part of two World Cup finals, and his individual performance helped Team India a lot at the mega-event.
He was the joint highest wicket-taker at the 2011 World Cup, a tournament which India won, while his best bowling performance of 4/42 came against New Zealand in the year 2003. With an economy rate of 4.47 and an average of 20.22, Zaheer is India's most successful bowler at the World Cups.
Also read - Most maiden overs in world cup
#2 Chaminda Vaas
Matches - 31, Wickets - 49, Maidens - 39, Best Bowling Figures - 6/25
Sri Lanka's left-arm quick Chaminda Vaas is remembered for his first over hat-trick against Bangladesh in the 2003 World Cup. His unbelievable bowling performance helped Sri Lanka win that match by 9 wickets; Vaas bowled 9.1 overs in that spell conceding only 25 runs while sending 6 Bangladeshi batsmen back to the pavilion.
The Sri Lankan bowled with unmatched accuracy in the four Cricket World Cups that he played. The fact that he bowled 39 maiden overs in 31 matches shows how much he troubled the batsmen with his left-arm pace.
However, the Lankan team could not give a perfect farewell to this legend as they finished runners-up in Vaas' final World Cup tournament.
No other Sri Lankan pacer has matched the Mattumagala-born player's record at the World Cup.
#1 Wasim Akram
Matches - 38, Wickets - 55, Maidens - 17, Best Bowling Figures - 5/28
The bowler who led Pakistan to their first ever World Cup triumph in cricket history, Wasim Akram is the greatest left-arm bowler to have played in the mega event. He represented his nation in 38 World Cup matches from 1987 to 2003 and scalped 55 wickets at a miserly economy rate of 4.04.
Akram's natural swing and pace created difficulties for even the best batsmen on the planet. That was the reason why he was so successful at the international level.
His best performance in the World Cup, 5/28, came against Namibia in 2003.
Cricket fans of the 90s will always remember the quality that Akram brought to the table. The Pakistani pacer retired from international cricket a while ago and today, the likes of Mohammad Amir and Shaheen Afridi are carrying forward his legacy.