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Most wickets in T20 World Cup: Who holds the record?

Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan has taken the most wickets in T20 World Cup history with 41 wickets in T20 World Cups since the inaugural edition in 2007.

It is no secret that the shortest format of the game acts heavily in favour of the batsmen who usually dominate contests. However, this has only forced bowlers into making several variations to their usual games and adding more and more weapons to their arsenal. As a result, bowlers these days are more capable of adapting to situations and tackling them better.

Bowlers like Shakib Al Hasan, Shahid Afridi, and Lasith Malinga have played a fundamental role in their teams’ successes in T20 cricket, the pinnacle of which, obviously is the ICC T20 World Cup. Even in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021, Sri Lanka’s Wanindu Hasaranga broke the record of taking the most wickets in a single edition of the World Cup, which was previously held by his countryman Ajantha Mendis.

So, which bowlers have taken the most wickets in T20 World Cup history? Let’s find out below:

Most wickets in T20 World Cup: Top 5 list

PlayerNationMatRunsWicketsBestAverageEconomy
Shakib Al HasanBangladesh31709414/917.296.43
Shahid AfridiPakistan34907394/1123.256.71
Lasith MalingaSri Lanka31763385/3120.077.43
Saeed AjmalPakistan23607364/1916.866.79
Ajantha MendisSri Lanka21526356/815.026.7

Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh – 41 wickets in 31 matches

Legendary Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan tops the list of records when it comes to the highest wicket-takers in the history of the T20 World Cup with 41 wickets to his name in just 31 World Cup matches. He has played in every single T20 World Cup from the inaugural edition in 2007 to the latest one in 2021 and has plenty of caliber to change games almost single-handedly.

Shakib continues to be the best prospect for Bangladesh even at the twilight stages of his career. He also has an excellent economy rate of 6.43 which is the best among the top five wicket-takers in the competition’s history. Shakib registered his best T20 World Cup figures of 4/9 against Papua New Guinea last year to propel Bangladesh into the Super 12 stage in UAE.

Shahid Afridi, Pakistan – 39 wickets in 34 matches

The previous owner of the record until 2021, Shahid Afridi is second on the list with 39 wickets to his name after playing 34 matches between 2007 and 2016. Afridi also has an excellent average and economy rate of 23.25 and 6.71 respectively.

The all-rounder was the star of the show when Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka in the final to win the T20 World Cup in 2009. Afridi had remained unbeaten on 54 runs and had also taken a wicket to secure victory as well as the World Cup trophy for his side.

Lasith Malinga, Sri Lanka – 38 wickets in 31 matches

One of the greatest to hold the ball in the history of T20 cricket, Lasith Malinga unsurprisingly finds himself in the third position on this list with 38 scalps to his name in 31 matches representing Sri Lanka from 2007 to 2016 in the T20 World Cup.

He was an absolutely crucial member of the side between 2007 and 2014 which culminated in Sri Lanka winning the 2014 T20 World Cup. Malinga’s performances in the death overs and especially, his inch-perfect yorkers proved to be an extremely important asset for Sri Lankan cricket during those years and resulted in plenty of successes.

Overall, he has bowled at an average of 20.07 and for a fast bowler who was used to bowling in the all-important death overs, his economy rate of 7.43 is very impressive. Malinga also picked up a five-wicket haul against England in the 2012 ICC World T20. He is also included in the list of players with the most wickets in IPL.

Saeed Ajmal, Pakistan – 36 wickets in 23 matches

Saeed Ajmal is fourth on the list of the highest wicket-takers in T20 World Cups with 36 wickets from 23 matches. The former right-arm off-break bowler for Pakistan was a key component for the side during the middle overs.

Ajmal bowled with an average of 16.86 and has a terrific economy rate of 6.79. He picked up most of his wickets between 2009 and 2014 and his best bowling figures of 4/19 came against an unsuspecting Ireland batting unit in 2009.

Ajantha Mendis, Sri Lanka – 35 wickets in 21 matches

One of the most devastating bowlers in the world at his peak, Ajantha Mendis was an enigma and he was incredibly difficult to read once he first burst on to the scene with Sri Lanka. Although his career at the top level was short-lived and it didn’t hit the heights expected, he is the fifth-highest wicket-taker in T20 World Cup history with 35 wickets in 21 matches. This just goes to show the massive impact he had for Sri Lanka in a short period.

Mendis’ best performances came between 2009 and 2014 and he bowled at an economy rate of 6.70 and an average of 15.02. He is the only bowler on this list to take a six-wicket haul and he achieved that feat with his phenomenal spell of 6/8 against Zimbabwe in the 2012 ICC T20 World Cup. Before Wanindu Hasaranga, the record for taking the most wickets in a single edition of the T20 World Cup belonged to Mendis who scalped 15 wickets in 2012.

Most wickets in T20 World Cup: Highest wicket-taker at every edition

YearBowlerTeamWicketsMatchesBest Bowling Figures
2007Umar GulPakistan1374/25
2009Umar GulPakistan1375/6
2010Drik NannesAustralia1474/18
2012Ajantha MendisSri Lanka1566/8
2014Imran TahirSouth Africa1254/21
2016Mohammad NabiAfghanistan1274/20
2021Wanindu HasarangaSri Lanka1684/11

FAQs

Who has taken the most wickets in a single edition of the ICC T20 World Cup?

With 16 wickets in eight matches, Sri Lanka’s Wanindu Hasaranga holds the record for taking the highest wickets in a single edition of the tournament which he achieved in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 in UAE last year.

Who was the highest wicket-taker in the 2016 T20 World Cup held in India?

Mohammad Nabi of Afghanistan finished as the highest wicket-taker after the 2016 T20 World Cup with 12 wickets in seven matches.

Has a bowler from Australia finished as the highest wicket-taker in a single edition of the ICC T20 World Cup?

With 14 wickets from seven matches, Dirk Nannes finished as the highest wicket-taker of the 2010 World Cup.

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