Top 10 Bowling Spells in ICC Men’s T20 World Cup History

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is the pinnacle of short-form international cricket, where bowlers often rise to the occasion and produce spells of devastating brilliance. These performances can single-handedly turn the tide of a match and leave a lasting impression on the tournament. Here, we delve into the Top 10 Bowling Spells in ICC Men’s T20 World Cup History, analyzing the bowlers, their performances, and the context of the matches.

1. Ajantha Mendis | Sri Lanka – 6/8 vs Zimbabwe

Ajantha Mendis, the Sri Lankan mystery spinner, holds the record for the best bowling figures in T20 World Cup history. In the 2012 edition, he bamboozled the Zimbabwean batsmen with his variations, taking an astonishing 6 wickets for just 8 runs in his 4 overs. This spell completely dismantled Zimbabwe’s batting lineup, restricting them to a mere 78 runs, which Sri Lanka chased down with ease.

Top 10 Bowling Spells in ICC Men's T20 World Cup History

Mendis’ performance was not just about the numbers but the manner in which he achieved them. His array of carrom balls, off-breaks, and top-spinners left the Zimbabwean batsmen clueless. The pitch at Hambantota offered some assistance to the spinners, but it was Mendis’ skill and guile that made the real difference. Each wicket he took seemed to be a masterpiece of deception, making this spell one of the most memorable in T20 World Cup history.

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2. Rangana Herath | Sri Lanka – 5/3 vs New Zealand

Another Sri Lankan spinner finds a place on this prestigious list. Rangana Herath, a left-arm orthodox bowler known for his accuracy and control, produced a magical spell in the 2014 World Cup against New Zealand. He ripped through the Kiwi batting order, taking 5 wickets in just 3.3 overs and conceding only 3 runs. This exceptional performance played a vital role in Sri Lanka’s convincing victory.

Top 10 Bowling Spells in ICC Men's T20 World Cup History

Herath’s spell was a masterclass in spin bowling. Bowling with a beautiful loop and precise accuracy, Herath exploited the conditions perfectly. His deliveries landed in the right areas, and the subtle variations in flight and pace caused significant problems for the New Zealand batsmen. This spell was not just about wickets but also the pressure he built on the batsmen, making it one of the finest in the history of the tournament.

3. Umar Gul | Pakistan – 5/6 vs New Zealand

Umar Gul, the Pakistani fast bowler, was a force to be reckoned with in his prime. During the 2009 World Cup, he unleashed a blistering spell against New Zealand, taking an incredible 5 wickets for just 6 runs in a mere 3 overs. His fiery pace and swing proved too much for the Kiwi batsmen, and Pakistan cruised to a comfortable victory.

Top 10 Bowling Spells in ICC Men's T20 World Cup History

Gul’s spell was a demonstration of fast bowling excellence. His ability to reverse swing the old ball at high pace made him a deadly bowler in the death overs. Against New Zealand, Gul bowled with venom and precision, targeting the stumps and inducing false shots from the batsmen. His yorkers were particularly effective, making it nearly impossible for the batsmen to score.

4. Fazalhaq Farooqi | Afghanistan – 5/9 vs Uganda

This list wouldn’t be complete without a mention from the recent 2024 World Cup. Fazalhaq Farooqi, the young Afghan left-arm pacer, announced his arrival on the big stage with a career-best performance against Uganda. His exceptional control and accuracy helped him pick up a fifer for just 9 runs in 4 overs, dismantling the Ugandan batting lineup and propelling Afghanistan to a dominant victory.

Farooqi’s spell was marked by his ability to swing the ball both ways, making him a potent threat in the powerplay overs. His natural angle as a left-arm bowler, combined with his ability to move the ball late, created numerous problems for the Ugandan batsmen. Each of his wickets was a result of intelligent bowling and precise execution.

5. Sam Curran | England – 5/10 vs Afghanistan

Sam Curran, the English all-rounder, showcased his talent with a brilliant bowling spell in the 2022 World Cup against Afghanistan. His swing bowling and cutters proved unplayable for the Afghan batsmen, as he scalped 5 wickets for just 10 runs in 3.4 overs. This exceptional performance was instrumental in England’s emphatic win.

Top 10 Bowling Spells in ICC Men's T20 World Cup History

Curran’s spell was a testament to his versatility as a bowler. Utilizing the conditions perfectly, he bowled a mixture of inswingers and slower balls that kept the batsmen guessing. His ability to change the pace and maintain accuracy made him a difficult bowler to face, and his wickets came at crucial intervals, breaking the backbone of the Afghan batting lineup.

6. Ahsan Malik | Netherlands – 5/19 vs South Africa

Ahsan Malik, the Dutch left-arm spinner, produced a superb display of slow bowling in the 2014 World Cup. His control and accuracy restricted a strong South African batting lineup, helping the Netherlands secure a memorable victory.

Malik’s spell was a remarkable achievement given the strength of the opposition. He bowled with a clear plan, targeting the stumps and varying his pace effectively. His ability to bowl dot balls and build pressure led to wickets, as the South African batsmen struggled to score freely. This spell is remembered as one of the great upsets in T20 World Cup history and rightly deserves a place among the Top 10 Bowling Spells in ICC Men’s T20 World Cup History.

7. Adam Zampa | Australia – 5/19 vs Bangladesh

The Australian leg-spinner, Adam Zampa, displayed his mastery in the 2021 World Cup against Bangladesh. His variations and guile proved too much for the Bangladeshi batsmen, as he picked up 5 wickets for just 19 runs.

Zampa’s spell was a showcase of leg-spin bowling at its best. His ability to turn the ball both ways, combined with subtle changes in flight and pace, made him a difficult bowler to read. He consistently attacked the stumps and used his googly effectively, causing confusion among the Bangladeshi batsmen and leading to their downfall.

8. Mujeeb Ur Rahman | Afghanistan – 5/20 vs Scotland

Mujeeb Ur Rahman, the young Afghan spinner, showcased his talent on the big stage in the 2021 World Cup. His control and guile dismantled Scotland’s batting lineup, as he picked up 5 wickets for just 20 runs.

Mujeeb’s spell was a demonstration of spin bowling artistry. His ability to bowl with the new ball and extract turn and bounce made him a unique threat. His carrom balls and off-breaks were delivered with such precision that the Scottish batsmen found it difficult to cope. His spell was crucial in Afghanistan’s dominant performance in the match.

9. Mustafizur Rahman | Bangladesh – 5/22 vs New Zealand

Mustafizur Rahman, the Bangladeshi left-arm cutter specialist, displayed his skills against New Zealand in the 2016 World Cup. He picked up crucial wickets at regular intervals, restricting the New Zealand batsmen and helping Bangladesh secure a vital victory.

Mustafizur’s spell was a masterclass in using cutters and slower balls. His deceptive bowling made it hard for the New Zealand batsmen to time their shots. By varying his pace and keeping the batsmen guessing, Mustafizur was able to take crucial wickets, making his spell one of the standout performances in the tournament and earning a rightful place among the Top 10 Bowling Spells in ICC Men’s T20 World Cup History.

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10. James Faulkner | Australia – 5/27 vs Pakistan

James Faulkner, the Australian all-rounder, produced a well-rounded performance in the 2016 World Cup against Pakistan. His intelligent use of slower balls and cutters led him to claim 5 wickets for 27 runs, playing a key role in Australia’s victory.

Faulkner’s spell was a demonstration of strategic bowling. He used his variations effectively to outsmart the Pakistani batsmen. His ability to bowl accurate yorkers and slower deliveries at crucial moments made it difficult for the opposition to score. This performance highlighted Faulkner’s importance as a bowler who could change the course of the game with his smart tactics.

Top Bowlers to Watch in the ICC T20 World Cup 2024

The ICC T20 World Cup 2024 is set to be a thrilling spectacle, especially for bowlers, with slower pitches in the West Indies expected to favor spinners. Veteran Mitchell Starc predicts a decrease in team totals without the IPL’s ‘Impact Player Rule’. Key bowlers to watch include Jasprit Bumrah (India), known for his deadly yorkers; Matheesha Pathirana (Sri Lanka), with his unorthodox pace; and Mitchell Starc (Australia), a consistent match-winner. Rashid Khan (Afghanistan) will lead with his leg-spin, while Jofra Archer (England) brings searing pace and West Indian familiarity. Adam Zampa (Australia) and Trent Boult (New Zealand) are vital for their teams with their wicket-taking abilities. Shaheen Shah Afridi (Pakistan) and Gerald Coetzee (South Africa) are known for their lethal deliveries. Veteran all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) and the resurgent Kuldeep Yadav (India) add spin prowess, while Shamar Joseph (West Indies) promises excitement on home soil. These bowlers are set to dominate and are the Top Bowlers to Watch in the ICC T20 World Cup 2024.


The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup continues to be a platform where bowlers can showcase their talent and make history. These top bowling spells remind us of the impact a single bowler can have on the outcome of a match, making the tournament an exciting spectacle for cricket fans worldwide. As we look forward to the 2024 World Cup, the anticipation of witnessing more such memorable performances from the world’s best bowlers adds to the excitement and charm of this prestigious tournament. Whether it’s the young talents like Fazalhaq Farooqi or the experienced campaigners like Jasprit Bumrah, the battle between bat and ball will continue to enthrall and entertain cricket enthusiasts around the globe.

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