In the game of cricket, while batsmen capture the limelight with their power-hitting, it is the bowlers who instill fear in the hearts of batsmen. The ability to take wickets is crucial for any team’s success, as it brings them one step closer to victory. In this article, we will explore the top 10 highest wicket-takers in One-Day International (ODI) cricket, featuring legendary bowlers who have left an indelible mark on the sport.
Muttiah Muralitharan, the legendary Sri Lankan spinner, stands tall at the pinnacle of the highest wicket-takers in ODI cricket. With a remarkable tally of 534 wickets, he has left an everlasting legacy.
Throughout his illustrious career from 1993 to 2011, Muralitharan played in 350 ODI matches, delivering 18811 balls and conceding 12326 runs. With a bowling average of 23.08 and an economy rate of 3.93, Muralitharan is widely regarded as one of the greatest spin bowlers of all time.
Wasim Akram, the former Pakistani pacer, occupies the second spot on the list with a remarkable record of 502 wickets in 356 ODI matches. Akram, known for his lethal swing and impeccable control, played from 1984 to 2003.
He delivered 18186 balls, giving away 11812 runs. With a bowling average of 23.52 and an economy rate of 3.89, Akram’s mastery of reverse swing bowling has earned him a place among the all-time greats.
Waqar Younis, another Pakistani cricketing legend, stands tall with 416 wickets in 262 ODI matches. Regarded as one of the finest exponents of swing bowling, Younis terrorized batsmen with his lethal yorkers and precise seam movement.
In his career spanning from 1989 to 2003, Younis played 258 innings, delivering 12698 balls and conceding 9919 runs. With a bowling average of 23.84 and an economy rate of 4.68, Younis remains one of the most feared bowlers in the history of the sport.
Chaminda Vaas, the former Sri Lankan cricketer, holds a special place on this list with his exceptional swing bowling skills. Playing from 1994 to 2008, Vaas took an impressive 400 wickets in 322 ODI matches. In his career, he played 320 innings, delivering 15775 balls and conceding 11014 runs.
Vaas holds the unique distinction of being the only bowler to have taken 8 wickets in a single ODI match. With a bowling average of 27.53 and an economy rate of 4.18, Vaas played a vital role in Sri Lanka’s success during his tenure.
Shahid Afridi, the explosive Pakistani all-rounder, demonstrates his versatility by claiming the fifth spot with his bowling prowess. Afridi, known for his aggressive batting style, had a remarkable bowling career as well. With 395 wickets in 398 ODI matches from 1996 to 2015, Afridi proved to be a formidable leg spinner.
He bowled 17670 balls, conceding 13632 runs. With a bowling average of 34.51 and an economy rate of 4.62, Afridi showcased his effectiveness as a bowler, often overshadowed by his powerful hitting.
Shaun Pollock, the former South African cricketer, earns his place on the list as one of the finest all-rounders in the history of the game. Pollock’s impeccable seam bowling skills yielded him 393 wickets in 303 ODI matches from 1996 to 2008.
With 297 innings played, he delivered 15712 balls, conceding 9631 runs. Pollock boasted a bowling average of 24.50 and an economy rate of 3.67, making him a formidable opponent for any batsman.
Glenn McGrath, the renowned Australian right-arm fast-medium bowler, left an indelible mark on the sport with his accuracy and consistency. With 381 wickets in 250 ODI matches from 1993 to 2007, McGrath was a crucial contributor to Australia’s dominance in the cricketing world.
He bowled 12970 balls, conceding 8391 runs. McGrath held an impressive bowling average of 22.02 and an economy rate of 3.88, making him a nightmare for batsmen.
Brett Lee, the former Australian fast bowler, was known for his express pace and aggressive approach. With 380 wickets in 221 ODI matches from 2000 to 2012, Lee proved to be a lethal weapon for his team.
Lee bowled 11185 balls, conceding 8877 runs. With a bowling average of 23.36 and an economy rate of 4.76, Lee consistently troubled batsmen with his raw pace and ability to generate bounce.
Lasith Malinga, the unorthodox Sri Lankan pacer, showcased his unique bowling style with a distinctive slinging action. In his career spanning from 2004 to 2019, Malinga claimed 338 wickets in 226 ODI matches.
With 220 innings played, he bowled 10936 balls, conceding 9760 runs. Malinga boasted a bowling average of 28.87 and an economy rate of 5.35. Known for his deadly yorkers and ability to bowl at the death, Malinga was a key asset for Sri Lanka.
Anil Kumble, the former Indian right-arm leg-spinner, claimed the final spot on the list with his remarkable achievements. Kumble played 271 ODI matches from 1990 to 2007, taking 337 wickets. With 265 innings played, he bowled 14496 balls, conceding 10412 runs.
Kumble held a bowling average of 30.89 and an economy rate of 4.30. Renowned for his accuracy and ability to extract turn from the pitch, Kumble was one of India’s most successful bowlers.
These are the top 10 highest wicket-takers in ODI cricket as of 2023, showcasing the immense talent and contributions of these legendary bowlers to the game.