Picking the Cricket World Cup top bowler isn’t an easy task but with some analysis of past tournaments, we can get close to drawing a profile.

At least when trying to decipher who might be the top batsman we can petty much narrow it down to opening batsmen, as the history books show us that it’s only openers who have won it over the last few editions. In an ODI you’ll have between five and seven different players bowling at least one over and usually at least four bowling the full ten overs so their place in the team doesn’t really help us the way it does with the batsmen.

But we can study past tournaments to at least draw a profile of who might be in contention for Cricket World Cup top bowler.

 

Past Cricket World Cup Top Bowler winners

 

1999

Hosts: England

Winners: Australia

Runners Up: Pakistan

Top Bowlers: 20 wickets- Shane Warne (Australia/spinner) + Geoff Allott (New Zealand/fast-medium).

 

 

2003

Hosts: South Africa

Winners: Australia

Runners Up:  India

Top Bowler: 23 wickets – Chaminda Vaas * (Sri Lanka/fast medium)

 

2007

Hosts: West Indies

Winners: Australia

Runners-up: Sri Lanka

Top Bowler: 26 wickets – Glenn McGrath (Australia, fast bowler)

 

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2011

Hosts: India

Winners: India

Runners-up: Sri Lanka

Top Bowlers: Zaheer Khan* (India, fast bowler), Shahid Afridi (Pakistan/leg spinner).

 

 

2015

Hosts: Australia and New Zealand

Winners: Australia

Runners-up: New Zealand

Top Bowlers:  22 wickets- Mitchell Starc * (Australia, fast bowler), Trent Boult * (New Zealand, fast bowler).

 

So taking the last eight Cricket World Cup top bowlers, including ties, they share these characteristics:

 

  • Four of them won the World Cup, one was a beaten finalist.
  • Six were pace bowlers, two were spinners.

 

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And now to the really interesting bit: of the eight, four of them and three of the last four, were left-arm fast bowlers. They’re the ones with an asterisk next to them. That’s petty surprising given that most ODI teams tend to have just the one left-arm bowler, at most two.

 

Champions Trophy Top Bowler

 

The Champions Trophy is of course a completely different tournament with the major difference being that it was much shorter (it’s been scrapped for the time being) in terms of the number of games and always only had eight teams.

But given that the last two editions were held in England, it would be silly to dismiss what happened in them.

 

2013 Champions Trophy

Hosts: England

Winners: India

Runners-up: England

Top Bowler: 12 wickets- Ravindra Jadeja* (India, spinner)

 

 

2017 Champions Trophy

Hosts: England

Winners: Pakistan

Runners-up: India

Top Bowler: 13 wickets- Hasan Ali (Pakistan, spinner)

 

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It’s worth noting that in Jadeja, there was yet another left-arm winner, albeit a spinner this time.

It’s obviously a very small sample but it’s worth noting that once again, the top bowler came from the team who went on to win the tournament on both occasions.

That shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise. Not only do you play the maximum number of games possible so give yourself every chance in that way but he strongest teams take the most wickets.

Look at this way: if you play the best sides you’re generally chasing bigger totals so need to take more risks to try to get close to that total and end up losing more wickets. If you’re batting first, you’ll need to be more aggressive to try and post a big total which of course leads to wickets falling. After all, you’re not going to beat India or England posting 280 on a good wicket.

Of course we don’t know who might be in the final before the tournament has even started. Thankfully, the Cricket World Cup doesn’t seem to throw up many surprises as regards the finalists; all of the last five editions were won by the pre-tournament favourites.

So for the purposes of his we’ll narrow it down to players from the four (justified) favourites: England, India, Australia and New Zealand.

 

Overall figures
Player Span Mat Inns Overs Mdns Runs Wkts BBI Ave Econ SR 4 5
AU Rashid (ENG) 2015-2019 80 75 667.4 6 3727 127 5/27 29.34 5.58 31.5 7 2
Rashid Khan (AFG) 2015-2019 57 54 472.1 25 1845 123 7/18 15.00 3.90 23.0 4 4
TA Boult (NZ) 2015-2019 54 54 496.2 31 2632 107 7/34 24.59 5.30 27.8 3 4
K Rabada (SA) 2015-2019 66 65 562.2 38 2802 106 6/16 26.43 4.98 31.8 6 1
Imran Tahir (SA) 2015-2019 60 59 517.5 23 2487 92 7/45 27.03 4.80 33.7 1 2
Kuldeep Yadav (INDIA) 2017-2019 44 42 383.0 10 1892 87 6/25 21.74 4.93 26.4 4 1
JJ Bumrah (INDIA) 2016-2019 49 49 417.3 26 1883 85 5/27 22.15 4.51 29.4 4 1
LE Plunkett (ENG) 2015-2019 52 50 397.2 7 2362 84 5/52 28.11 5.94 28.3 6 1
Mustafizur Rahman (BDESH) 2015-2019 44 43 364.4 19 1756 79 6/43 22.22 4.81 27.6 2 3
Hasan Ali (PAK) 2016-2019 46 44 364.1 14 1943 78 5/34 24.91 5.33 28.0 1 3
JO Holder (WI) 2015-2019 60 58 470.4 20 2573 74 5/27 34.77 5.46 38.1 1 2
Mohammad Nabi (AFG) 2015-2019 60 57 471.2 20 1964 73 4/30 26.90 4.16 38.7 1 0
YS Chahal (INDIA) 2016-2019 41 40 362.1 12 1772 72 6/42 24.61 4.89 30.1 1 2
B Kumar (INDIA) 2015-2019 60 59 473.4 27 2518 72 5/42 34.97 5.31 39.4 2 1
CR Woakes (ENG) 2015-2019 52 49 398.0 23 2150 70 4/33 30.71 5.40 34.1 6 0
Mashrafe Mortaza (BDESH) 2015-2019 55 55 459.0 18 2332 69 4/29 33.79 5.08 39.9 2 0
AG Cremer (ZIM) 2015-2018 53 52 439.1 14 1996 66 5/20 30.24 4.54 39.9 2 2
Dawlat Zadran (AFG) 2015-2019 46 44 351.4 28 1783 65 4/22 27.43 5.07 32.4 3 0
PJ Cummins (AUS) 2015-2019 36 36 322.1 21 1599 63 5/70 25.38 4.96 30.6 5 1
MJ Santner (NZ) 2015-2019 59 55 446.1 8 2187 63 5/50 34.71 4.90 42.4 0 1

 

Cricket World Cup Top Bowler candidates

 

Above are the figures for most wickets taken over the past three years, with the players in bold being those who play for one of the four favourites.

Adil Rashid at 17.0 with Betfair Sportsbook tops the list but he’s also played by far the most matches, at least 20 more than anyone else, so we shouldn’t get too excited about him.

The better metric might be the player’s strike rate. The player with by far the best strike rate is Rashid Khan (19.0) but sadly we have to cross him off because he plays for one of the tournament’s outsiders.

Catching our attention straight away for cricket World Cup top bowler are Trent Boult (ranked 3rd for most wickets, good strike rate, left-arm bowler) of New Zealand  who is 26.0 with Betfair Sportsbook and Kuldeep Yadav, who is 14.0 favourite, (ranked 6th, strike rate 26.4, left-arm spinner) of India.

Jasprit Bumrah (14.0) and Chris Woakes (21.00) will have their chances too but B. Kumar and Liam Plunkett shouldn’t be considered on the basis that neither is guaranteed a game.

Recommended bets: 

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Back Kuldeep Yadav to be Cricket World Cup Top Bowler @ 14.0 with Betfair Sportsbook   

 

 

 

Other World cup articles: 

Pakistan Cricket: The secrets to winning the 2019 World Cup

Cricket World Cup Bets: The profile of a top batsman

Cricket World Cup Tips: Three unmissable bets

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