‘Batsmen wins you games but bowlers wins you tournaments’ is a common term in cricketing circles. As the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 (CWC 2019) dawn on us in about a week’s time, let's take a look at the best individual bowling figures at the World Cup. From Glenn McGrath sending Namibia packing in an hour to Tim Southee destroying England in 2015 and Kirsten Gilmour taking 6/14 in 12 overs, half of which were maidens, take a look at the top five best bowling figures in an innings at the ICC World Cup. Hat-Tricks in Cricket World Cup History: List of Bowlers Who Achieved This Feat Before ICC CWC 2019.
Theses bowlers produced match-winning spells for their nation, destroying the opposition batting-order with supreme bowling skills. While some performances let their country to big victories, others demolished the opposition batting line-up for paltry scores.
Glenn McGrath 7/14 Against Namibia in 2003
Glenn McGrath played four World Cups (1996, 1999, 2003 and 2007) and won three. He holds most bowling records at the World Cup. One of them is the best individual bowling performance. McGrath took seven wickets for just 14 runs in seven overs against Namibia during Australia’s penultimate group stage game at the 2003 World Cup. Four of those overs were maidens guiding Australia to a 256-run win. The Aussies went on to win the World Cup.
Andy Bichel 7/20 Against England In 2003
Another Australian against another opposition but at the Same World Cup. Four days after McGrath had blown Namibia away, Andy Bichel destroyed England single-handedly at Port Elizabeth. England were off to a brisk start and looked set for a big score before Bichel was introduced into the attack. He dismissed Nick Knight in his first over and went on to take all but one England wicket that fell. Bichel finished with figures of 7/20 in his 10 overs. Interestingly, he wasn’t assured of a starting berth and only entered the playing 11 after Jason Gillespie had been ruled out of the tournament. ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Schedule: Full Timetable Including Team India’s Fixtures, Venue and Match Timings.
Tim Southee 7/33 Against England In 2015
The New Zealand fast bowler dismantled the English batting order with some rippers at Wellington in the 2015 World Cup. Tim Southee had figures 7/33 from nine overs against England. Of his seven wickets, four were clean bowled. Ian Bell, Moeen Ali, James Taylor and Chris Woakes were bowled, while Jos Buttler, Stuart Broad and Steven Finn offered sitters. Southee along with Trent Boult was in prime form as New Zealand made the World Cup finals.
Winston Davis 7/51 against Australia On World Cup Debut
A tall, menacing West Indies fast bowler, Winston Davis wasn’t as big a player as many of contemporaries but holds the records for the best individual bowling figures in a World Cup innings by a West Indian. His record figures of 7/51 against Australia in the 1983 World Cup was for a long time the best bowling figure at the ICC tournament. And what made it more special was that Davis achieved the record in his debut match. Four out of Davis’ seven wickets came from behind the wicket as he constantly troubled the Australian batsmen with short-pitched deliveries.
Gary Gilmour 6/14 Against England In 1975 World Cup Semi-Final
Gary Gilmour didn’t play a single match in the 1975 World Cup until the semi-finals. He was, however, named in the playing 11 against England in the semis. And Gilmour repaid the faith with once in a lifetime spell. The left-arm fast bowler became the first cricketer to claim a six-wicket haul in ODIs. Gilmour took 6/14 in his 12 over spell delivering six maiden overs as England folded for just 93 runs on board. He took the first six English wickets that fell in the innings. Gilmour's figures of 6/14 were also the best individual bowling performance at the ICC tournament until Davis broke it in 1983.
This year the pitches in England are predicted to be flat assisting spinners more than the fast bowlers. But England has always been a bowler’s paradise. A little change in climate and it is a different ball-game in England. While the above mentioned five have the best bowling figures, there have been many such charged performances from other bowlers at different editions of the World Cup.
Some of the honourable mentions are Ashish Nehra (6/23) and Shane Bond. Nehra was forced off the field in India’s previous match against Namibia. But despite playing with a sore ankle the left-arm fast bowler tormented England.
Shane Bond came with a similar performance against arch-nemesis Australia taking six wickets for 23 runs at the 2033 World Cup. But New Zealand lost the match.