Who Has Taken Most Wickets in ODI History?

most wickets in ODI

Many great bowlers played the game, but only a few mastered the art of being labeled Geninue Match Winners. For the ODI format, along with consistent line and length, a bowler needs to have variations upon batters’ aggression. Hence, below mentioned list of the blokes with the most wickets in ODI History includes legendary bowlers who were able to adapt to changing trends in ODI Cricket.

So, let’s see who were the top 10 bowlers with the most wickets in the ODI format:

1. Muthiah Muralidaran

Most wickets in ODI Cricket - Muthiah Muralidaran
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Sri Lankan wizard and all-time leading wicket-taker in the game’s history tops the chart of ODI format too. Murali has taken 534 wickets in 350 matches. He has the second-best average among the 10 most wicket-takers in ODI history (23.08). Muthiah’s career-best bowling figures (7/30) came against India in a critical match in Coca-Cola Champions Trohpy 2000.

The Sri Lankan legend was also part of the World Cup 1996 winning squad. His spells throughout the World Cup were highly economical, including the crucial 1/31 in the final against Australia. Muthiah Muralidaran is the second-highest leading wicket-taker in ODI World Cup history.

2. Wasim Akram

Most wickets in ODI Cricket - Wasim Akram
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The most skillful left-arm pacer of all time, Wasim Akram, lit up ODI cricket to the next level. Wasim’s two magical deliveries to take wickets of Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis in the 1992 World Cup final are illustrations of his masterly career.

He was the first bowler to touch the 500 mark in ODI cricket, taking 502 wickets in 356 matches. A healthy average of 23.52 and a remarkable economy of 3.89 is worth mentioning.

Wasim has 4 five-wicket-hauls in ODI cricket, with his career-best figure of 5/15 coming against Zimbabwe. He captained Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup final by leading from the front throughout the tournament by taking 15 wickets in total.

3. Waqar Younis

Most wickets in ODI Cricket - Waqar Younis
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Wasim’s bowling partner, toe crusher Waqar Younis, is third on the list of most wickets in ODI cricket. With an astonishing strike rate 30.52, he took 416 wickets in just 262 games. Waqar holds numerous ODI records. He is 2nd fastest to take 300 wickets and the quickest to take 400 wickets.

His match-changing spell of 7/36 dismantled a robust English batting line-up with a mere 156 on the board. Alas! He retired early in 2004; otherwise, we could have seen more of Waqar Younis’s brilliance in ODI cricket.

4. Chaminda Vaas

Most wickets in ODI Cricket - Chaminda Vaas
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Sri Lankan Legendry left-armer Chaminda Vaas was praised where ever he went on to play. He was as crucial as Murali to the Sri Lankan side winning cause as the world-rated Chaminda was a true match-winner. He took 400 wickets in 322 games. He is the only bowler in the list who took 8 wickets in an ODI match (Chaminda 8/19 against Zimbabwe in Triangular Series 2001/02).

Vaas has bowled 279 maiden overs in ODI cricket history. He is the only bowler in ODIs who took a hat trick on the first three balls of the match. Vaas achieved this landmark in the 2003 World Cup against Bangladesh.

5. Shahid Afridi

Most wickets in ODI Cricket– Shahid Afridi
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Pakistan superstar all-rounder Shahid Afridi has the fifth-most wickets in ODI cricket. Although he got 395 wickets in 398 games, his game-changing ability was flawless. When Afridi performed, Pakistan won. He is the only all-rounder with three “5 wicket-hauls and 50+ score in the same match” in ODI cricket.

Shahid Afridi was the joint leading wicket-taker in the 2011 World Cup (21), which is the most by any captain in World Cup history. Boom Boom Afridi has a total of 9 fifers in ODI cricket.

6. Shaun Pollock

Most wickets in ODI Cricket - Shaun Pollock
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Pollock is the only South African in this list of most wickets in ODI. Shaun Pollock is also the most economical bowler (3.67) on this list. The legendary all-rounder took 393 wickets in 303 matches. His most economical spell, 5/20 in 9 overs (2.22), came against England at The Wanderers, South Africa.
Shaun leads the chart when it comes to maiden overs (313). He was a genuine all-rounder who bossed ODI cricket with his skillful bowling and ball striking.

7. Glenn McGrath

Most wickets in ODI Cricket - Glenn McGrath
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Bowling maestro Glenn McGrath was just on another level! Calling him the greatest ever bowler in history won’t be wrong. Marvelous 381 wickets in just 250 is the hallmark of his instrumental ODI career. With brilliant control on line and length, he troubled every great batter.

McGrath has the most wickets (71) and the second-best economy (3.96) in ODI World Cup history. Glenn McGrath has an all-time best average (22.02) in ODI cricket. Sensational McGrath’s career-best 7/15 came against Namibia during the 2003 World Cup.

8. Brett Lee

Most wickets in ODI Cricket - Brett Lee
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Thunderbolt Brett Lee is the fastest bowler in the chart of most wickets in ODI cricket. Lee got 380 wickets in just 221 games. His vital records include second-fastest to 250, most rapid to 300, and 350 ODI wickets. Batters feared Brett Lee as he rattled their stumps.

His best of 5/22 came against star stubbed South African side. Majestic Lee also has a great strike rate (29.43) in ODI cricket.

9. Lasith Malinga

Most wickets in ODI Cricket - Lasith Malinga
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Iconic slingy action bowler Lasith Malinga has 338 wickets in 226 games. Malinga was known as the Yorker King. He was the pioneer of the slower yorker ball in modern cricket. A generation of modern-day cricketers follows his bowling style. His strike rate of 32.35 in ODI cricket is 3rd-best of all time. Although he is more renowned for T20 Cricket, his ODI stats prove he is equally worthy here. Lasith Malinga’s fine average of 28.87 and world-class economy of 5.35 while playing on batting-friendly ODI pitches is a serious record!

10. Anil Kumble

Most wickets in ODI Cricket-Anil Kumble
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Great Shane Warne competitor and Indian legend Anil Kumble is the last member of this elite list of most wickets in ODI. With a world-class test record, Kumble lit up ODI cricket too. He took 337 wickets in 271 matches. Anil Kumble is only the second Indian who touched the 300 mark in the ODI wickets column.

His career-best 6/12 came against strong West Indies in the final of the C.A.B. Jubilee Tournament 1993. Anil Kumble finished his eminent ODI career with a stunning economy of 4.30 and a smooth average of 30.89.

Top 10 Bowlers with Most Wickets in ODI History

Let’s take a look at the stats of the top 10 bowlers with the most wickets in ODI cricket:

BowlerCountrySpanMatchesWickets TakenBest FiguresAverageEconomyStrike Rate5-Fers
Muthiah MuralidaranSri Lanka1993-20113505347/3023.083.9335.2210
Wasim AkramPakistan1984-20033565025/1523.523.8936.226
Waqar YounisPakistan1989-20032624167/3623.844.6830.5213
Chaminda VaasSri Lanka1994-20083224008/1927.534.1839.434
Shahid AfridiPakistan1996-20153983957/1234.514.6244.739
Shaun PollockSouth Africa1996-20083033936/3524.53.6739.975
Glenn McGrathAustralia1993-20072503817/1522.023.8834.047
Brett LeeAustralia2000-20122213805/2223.364.7629.439
Lasith MalingaSri Lanka2004-20192263386/3828.875.3532.358
Anil KumbleIndia1990-20072713376/1230.894.343.012

Closing Remarks

Muralidaran has taken the most wickets in ODI history (534), while Wasim Akram was the first bowler to take 500 wickets in the format. The top 10 list has 3 bowlers, each from Sri Lanka and Pakistan, 2 from Australia, and 1 each from South Africa and India.
The list includes two left-arm pacers, five right-arm pacers, two leg-spinners, and an off-spinner who leads the chart of most wickets in ODI cricket.

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