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Highest Run Scorers in ICC Cricket World Cup History

Highest run scorers in World Cup

The World Cup that comes around every four years continues to be the Holy Grail in the sport of cricket. No prize is as big as lifting the World Cup trophy and no success is as rewarding. Therefore, it is only natural that the greatest players in the world of cricket elevate their game during the World Cup and showcase their mettle.

For batsmen, scoring runs consistently and helping the team advance becomes a matter of pride and honour. Along the way, some batsmen go one step higher and end up scripting history. They go on to leave an indelible mark in the history of the prestigious World Cup competition.

In this piece, we’ll discuss some of these batsmen and their legendary feats. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the greatest run-scorers in the history of the World Cup.

Sachin Tendulkar (2,278 runs)

Highest run scorers in World Cup

The undisputed greatest batsman in the history of modern cricket is also the leading run-scorer in World Cup history! Sachin Tendulkar played his first World Cup in 1992 and by the time he lifted the trophy in his final World Cup in 2011, he had changed the game of cricket forever and created history with India.

Across six World Cups spanning three decades, the little genius scored 2278 runs at a glorious average of 56.95. He also registered six tons in his World Cup career, a feat matched only by Indian batsman Rohit Sharma. Sachin also found the boundary ropes a record 241 times – no other player has struck more than 150 fours!

He finished as the highest-scorer in his second World Cup in 1996 with 523 runs, scoring two centuries and three half-centuries in seven games. Tendulkar set the stage on fire once again during the 2003 World Cup. Riding on his tally of 673 runs in 11 matches, India made it to the final, only to be at the receiving end of a hammering by Australia. His 98 in 75 deliveries against Pakistan in that World Cup continues to be one of the best innings in the tournament’s history.

Following an underwhelming World Cup campaign in 2007, Sachin Tendulkar finally lifted the trophy in 2011. With 482 runs, he finished as the second-highest scorer in that tournament behind Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan and was able to fulfil his lifelong dream of winning a World Cup for India. That was India’s first World Cup victory in 28 years and Sachin’s World Cup career came to an end with his teammates lifting him up for a victory lap around Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, the ground where he grew up playing cricket.

Ricky Ponting (1,743 runs)

Highest run scorers in World Cup

One of the greatest batsmen to ever play the game, Ricky Ponting has also enjoyed tremendous success with Australia over the years. He won the World Cup with Australia in 1999 and captained them to further World Cup glory in consecutive tournaments in 2003 and 2007.

Across five World Cups, Ricky Ponting has played a record 46 matches – the most for any player in history. He has amassed 1743 runs across those matches with his highest score being 140 not out. Ponting has a World Cup batting average of over 45 and a strike rate close to 80. Much like Sangakkara, he also has five centuries in his World Cup career, bettered only by India’s Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma.

His brilliant 140 not out in 121 balls against India in the final of the 2003 World Cup helped him lead the Australian team to an undefeated World Cup win where they won all 11 of their games. He scored 37 runs in the final of the 2007 World Cup before being run out but Australia managed to win their second consecutive trophy under Ponting’s leadership, extending their undefeated World Cup streak to 29 matches!

Kumar Sangakkara (1,532 runs)

Kumar Sangakkara took part in four World Cups between 2003 and 2015 during which he amassed 1532 runs from 37 matches. Sangakkara has a fantastic average of over 56 and he has five World Cup centuries to his name. Sangakkara also finished not out in eight World Cup innings, the highest for any player with over 1000 runs.

He was a part of the Sri Lankan side that made it to the final of the World Cup in both 2007 and 2011. In the 2007 World Cup Final, Sangakkara scored a half-century but Sri Lanka ended up losing to Australia.

During the 2011 World Cup, he was the captain of the side and fell two runs short of yet another World Cup final half-century. India ended up winning that contest thanks to Gambhir and Dhoni’s outstanding contributions and Sangakkara suffered a World Cup final defeat once again. He ended that tournament as the third-highest run-scorer after teammate TL Dilshan and India’s Sachin Tendulkar.

Only Sachin Tendulkar has hit more boundaries in World Cup history than Kumar Sangakkara’s tally of 147 fours.

Brian Lara (1,225 runs)

Highest run scorers in World Cup

West Indies legend Brian Lara has played in five World Cups between 1992 and 2007 with the 2007 World Cup in West Indies being his final hurrah in the sport. In 34 matches, the southpaw notched up 1225 runs at a healthy average of 42.24. Lara also made two centuries and seven half-centuries during his World Cup career.

The 2007 World Cup match against England on 21 April 2007 proved to be the final match of his international cricket career as Lara decided to retire from all formats after the World Cup in West Indies.

AB De Villiers (1,207 runs)

Modern day legend AB De Villiers has 1207 World Cup runs to his name in just 23 matches. In fact, De Villiers who had retired from international cricket in 2018 has played the least number of matches among the top 15 batsmen with the most runs in World Cups.

With an astonishing average of 63.52 and a mesmerizing strike rate of 117.29, De Villiers leads the charts in both those metrics for any player with more than 1000 career runs in World Cups. Across three World Cups (2007, 2011 and 2015), Mr. 360 registered four centuries, including two successive centuries in the 2011 World Cup. His highest World Cup score is 162 not out.

The 2015 World Cup proved to be De Villiers’ last adventure and under his captaincy, South Africa made it to the semi-finals before suffering a heart-breaking defeat at the hands of New Zealand. With 482 runs, De Villiers finished that tournament as the third-highest run-scorer.

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