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Highest wicket-takers at each World Cup – Who will it be in 2015?

A look back at all the highest wicket-takers in World Cup history and analyzing who will finish top this time

Trent Boult
Will Trent Boult emerge as the highest wicket-taker at the 2015 World Cup?

The race for the highest wicket-taker at the 2015 ICC World Cup is neck and neck. New Zealand’s left arm fast bowler Trent Boult is the leading wicket-taker at the end of the quarter-finals with 19 wickets. He is closely followed by Australia’s Mitchell Strac who has 18 scalps. And next is Mohammad Shami from India having 17 wickets along with West Indian Jerome Taylor. Interesting is that the top three will also be playing the semi-finals and may play the finals as well.

The leading wicket-takers of the tournament at the end of each week have generally been from New Zealand so far. In the first week it was Tim Southee with 11 wickets to his name thanks to a seven-wicket haul against England. The next best then was just six wickets by Daniel Vettori. Southee remained the highest wicket-taker at the end of the second and third weeks as well. But then the tables changed massively. Southee moved to fourth place and Boult reached the top. By the end of the group stage, Mitchell Starc went past Boult. And with the culmination of the quarters, Boult took his place at the top back.

Highest wicket-takers in WC 2015 (week by week)

Week

Highest

Second Highest

1 (till February 20)

11 - Tim Southee

6 - Daniel Vettori

2 (till February 27)

11 - Tim Southee

9 - Josh Davey, Imran Tahir, Jerome Taylor

3 (till March 6)

13 - Tim Southee

11 - Josh Davey, Jerome Taylor

4 (till March 13)

15 - Trent Boult

14 - Josh Davey

End of first round

16 - Mitchell Starc

15 - Trent Boult, Josh Davey, Mohammad Shami

End of Quarter-Finals

19 - Trent Boult

18 - Mitchell Starc

Let’s see who were the highest wicket-takers in the past World Cups?

World Cup

Bowler

Wickets

Inns

Avg

Eco

S/R

4W/5W

BBI

Team Performance

1975

Gary Gilmour (Aus)

11

2

5.63

2.58

13.00

0/2

6/14

Runner-Ups

1979

Mike Henderick (Eng)

10

5

14.90

2.66

33.60

1/0

4/15

Runner-Ups

1983

Roger Binny (Ind)

18

8

18.66

3.81

29.30

1/0

4/29

Winners

1987

Craig McDermott (Aus)

18

8

18.94

4.67

24.30

1/1

5/44

Winners

1992

Wasim Akram (Pak)

18

10

18.77

3.76

29.80

1/0

4/32

Winners

1996

Anil Kumble (Ind)

15

7

18.73

4.03

27.80

0/0

3/28

Semi-Finalists

1999

Shane Warne (Aus)

20

10

18.05

3.82

28.30

2/0

4/29

Winners

 

Geoff Allot (NZ)

20

9

16.25

3.70

26.30

2/0

4/37

Semi-Finalists

2003

Chaminda Vaas (SL)

23

10

14.39

3.76

22.90

1/1

6/25

Semi-Finalists

2007

Glenn McGrath (Aus)

26

11

13.73

4.41

18.60

0/0

3/14

Winners

2011

Zaheer Khan (Ind)

21

9

18.76

4.83

23.20

0/0

3/20

Winners

 

Shahid Afridi (Pak)

21

8

12.85

3.62

21.20

2/2

5/16

Semi-Finalists

2015

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In 1987 and 2011, two bowlers had equal number of wickets to finish as the highest wicket takers of the tournament.

In 6 World Cups, the highest wicket-taker’s team was the one who won the World Cup that year. Comparing that to the highest run-getters in a World Cup, only two were from the winning side (1979 and 2007).

The 1996 and 2007 editions are the only World Cups where the highest run-getter and wicket-taker were from the same team. In 1996, the highest runs were scored by Sachin Tendulkar of India and most wickets were taken by compatriot Anil Kumble, while in 2007, it was by Matthew Hayden and Glenn McGrath respectively. In 2007, Australia emerged victorious, while in 1996 the Indian team were ousted in the semi-finals.

New Zealand duo Trent Boult and Martin Guptill can repeat that feat as Boult is the the highest wicket-taker currently with Guptill the second highest run-getter so far.

1975’s leading wicket-taker Gary Gilmour played only two matches and that was the semis and final of the tournament. He took six wickets in the semi-finals against England and five wickets against West Indies in the final.

Glenn McGrath took 26 wickets in the 2007 World Cup in 11 matches which is the highest number of wickets by a bowler in a single World Cup or any ODI series/tournament. It is interesting to note that he did not take more than three wickets in a single match throughout the tournament. Anil Kumble (1996) and Zaheer Khan (2011) are the only other bowlers to be the highest wicket takers of a World Cup edition without taking more than three wickets in any match throughout the tournament.

For this World Cup, it is Boult, Starc and Shami who are vying for the top spot, but other players can’t be counted out if they pull off a surreal performance or two.

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