Record Breakers: Bowlers with the Most Wickets in T20 World Cup History

While world-class spinners dominate the top 10 list of most wickets taken in T20 World Cup history, it also features some fearsome fast bowlers.

Subhayan Dutta
Subhayan Dutta

Last Updated: 2024-06-06

Kaylan Geekie

7 minutes read

Lasitha Malinga of Sri Lanka celebrates dismissing Aaron Finch of Australia during game two of the Men's International Twenty20 series between Australia and Sri Lanka at The Gabba on October 30

Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan holds the record for the most wickets in T20 World Cup history. Shakib has taken 47 wickets in 36 matches, boasting an impressive average of 18.63 and an economy rate of 6.78. His standout performances include three four-wicket hauls, with his best being a remarkable 4/9 against Papua New Guinea in the 2021 edition.

Following closely is former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi, who ranks second with 39 wickets in 34 matches and an economy rate of 6.71. Sri Lanka’s iconic fast bowler Lasith Malinga is third on the list, having secured 38 wickets in 31 matches with an economy rate of 7.43. Malinga’s most memorable T20 World Cup performance was his 5/31 against England in 2012.

With the T20 World Cup 2024 upon us, let us look at the top 10 wicket-takers in the tournament history.

Most Wickets in T20 World Cup | 2007 - 2022

Most Wickets in T20 World Cup | 2007 - 2022

RankPlayerNationMatchesWicketsStrike Rate
1Shakib Al HasanBangladesh364716.48
2Shahid AfridiPakistan343920.76
3Lasith MalingaSri Lanka313816.21
4Saeed AjmalPakistan233614.88
5Ajantha MendisSri Lanka213513.45
6Umar GulPakistan243514.17
7Ravichandran AshwinIndia243215.93
8Wanindu HasarangaSri Lanka163111.8
9Dale SteynSouth Africa233016.63
10Stuart BroadEngland263017.36
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Shakib Al Hasan | 47 wickets in T20 World Cup 

Known for his accurate spin bowling and diverse techniques, Shakib has taken 47 wickets in 36 T20 World Cup matches. His remarkable skill in controlling the run rate and consistently taking crucial wickets has established him as a key player for the Bangla Tigers.

Imagae Credits: @mufaddal_vohra (X Account)

Imagae Credits: @mufaddal_vohra (X Account)

Shahid Afridi | 39 wickets in T20 World Cup

Shahid "Boom Boom" Afridi holds the second position among the top wicket-takers in T20 World Cup history. Afridi has scalped 39 wickets in 34 T20 World Cup matches, showcasing his unconventional leg-spin and spirited presence on the field.

Lasith Malinga | 38 wickets in T20 World Cup

Lasith "Slinger" Malinga is revered for his unique slingy action, deceptive slower balls, and lethal yorkers, Malinga has amassed 38 wickets in 31 T20 World Cup matches. His unparalleled expertise in the death overs played a pivotal role in Sri Lanka's victory in the 2014 T20 World Cup.

Image Credit: ICC Official Twitter (X) Account

Image Credit: ICC Official Twitter (X) Account

Saeed Ajmal | 36 wickets in T20 World Cup

Pakistan's off-spinner, Saeed Ajmal, garnered acclaim for his doosra deliveries and remarkable control. He captured 36 wickets in 23 T20 World Cup matches before retiring in 2014. His skill in deceiving batters with his variations consistently made him a prolific wicket-taker for the Men in Green.

Ajantha Mendis | 35 wickets in T20 World Cup 

Sri Lanka's enigmatic spinner, Ajantha Mendis holds the fifth position among all T20 World Cup wicket-takers. Known for his unconventional bowling technique and wide array of variations, Mendis captured 35 wickets in a mere 21 T20 World Cup matches. 

Most Wickets in T20 World Cup | From Each Edition

Most Wickets in T20 World Cup | From Each Edition

T20 World Cup EditionsHighest Wicket-TakerWickets
2007Umar Gul13
2009Umar Gul13
2010Dirk Nannes14
2012Ajantha Mendis15
2014Imran Tahir & Ahsan Malik12
2016Mohammad Nabi12
2021Wanindu Hasaranga16
2022Wanindu Hasaranga15
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Umar Gul | 13 wickets in T20 World Cups 2007 & 2009 

Pakistan fast bowler Umar Gul showcased remarkable form during the ICC T20 World Cup 2007, playing a pivotal role in leading his team to the final with 13 wickets. In the final, he delivered an impressive performance with figures of 3/28, although Pakistan ultimately lost. Notably, Gul was one of the three bowlers who failed to hit the stumps during the bowl out in a league stage match against India, resulting in a victory for India.

Image Credits: @ICC (

Image Credits: @ICC (

Gul continued his exceptional performance in the next edition of the T20 World Cup, once again emerging as the highest wicket-taker with 13 wickets. This time, he helped Pakistan clinch the T20 title, having narrowly missed it in the inaugural 2007 final against India. In the final against Sri Lanka, Gul finished with figures of 1/29, contributing to Pakistan’s comfortable eight-wicket victory.

Dirk Nannes | 14 wickets in T20 World Cup 2010

The T20 World Cup 2010 marked the pinnacle of Dirk Nannes’ career, as he emerged as the tournament's leading wicket-taker with 14 wickets. His standout performance included an impressive 4/18 against Bangladesh. Despite having a brief T20 career, Nannes made a significant impact at the 2010 World Cup, playing a crucial role in Australia's journey to the final, where they were ultimately defeated by England.

Ajantha Mendis | 15 wickets in T20 WC 2012

Sri Lanka’s Ajantha Mendis mesmerized opposition batsmen in the ICC T20 World Cup 2012, finishing as the leading wicket-taker with 15 wickets. In the tournament opener, Mendis delivered astonishing figures of 6/8 against Zimbabwe. He also showcased exceptional bowling in the final against the West Indies, achieving figures of 4/12, although his efforts couldn't secure the T20 title for Sri Lanka.

Image Credits: @ThurunuJ (X Account)

Image Credits: @ThurunuJ (X Account)

Imran Tahir & Ahsan Malik | 12 wickets each in T20 WC 2014 

South Africa’s Imran Tahir and Netherlands’ Ahsan Malik were the joint leading wicket-takers in the ICC T20 World Cup 2014, each claiming 12 wickets. Tahir's standout performance was a 4/21 spell against the Netherlands, while Malik, representing an associate nation, topped the charts with his best figures of 5/19 against South Africa. Despite their successes, the Proteas were eliminated in the semi-finals, and the Netherlands did not progress beyond the group stages.

Mohammad Nabi | 12 wickets in T20 WC 2016

Off-spinner Mohammad Nabi delivered outstanding individual performances with the ball during the ICC T20 World Cup 2016, finishing as the leading wicket-taker with 12 wickets, narrowly edging out his teammate Rashid Khan. Despite Afghanistan's inability to advance beyond the group stages, Nabi’s exceptional bowling stood out as a highlight in an otherwise disappointing tournament for the team.

Wanindu Hasaranga | 16 & 15 wickets in 2021 & 2022 T20 World Cups

Sri Lankan leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga demonstrated exceptional bowling prowess to emerge as the highest wicket-taker in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021, claiming 16 wickets with a best performance of 3/20 against South Africa in the Super 12 stage. Although Sri Lanka did not reach the knockout stages, Hasaranga’s impressive bowling provided a significant boost to a bowling unit that struggled with confidence and execution.

Image Credits: @Jay_Cricket18 (X Account)

Image Credits: @Jay_Cricket18 (X Account)

Continuing his stellar form, Hasaranga once again finished as the leading wicket-taker in the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia. He took 15 wickets in eight matches, boasting an average of 13.26 and an economy rate of 6.41. His standout performance in this tournament was a spell of 4-0-8-3 against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a First Round Group A match in Geelong in October 2022.

In conclusion, the ICC T20 World Cup has witnessed remarkable bowling performances from talented cricketers across various editions. From Umar Gul's consistent displays in 2007 and 2009 to Wanindu Hasaranga's dominant performances in 2021 and 2022, each tournament has seen bowlers leaving their mark on the global stage. Ajantha Mendis's mesmerizing spin in 2012 and Mohammad Nabi's standout role in 2016 further exemplify the diversity and skill present in T20 cricket.


Who has the most runs in a single T20 World Cup?

Virat Kohli scored the most runs in a single T20 World Cup edition in 2014, with 319 runs in six matches for India. Virat Kohli has also amassed the most runs in all T20 World Cup editions with 1141 in 27 games for India.

Who has the most wins in the T20 World Cup history?

West Indies and England have matched for the most T20 global titles, with two each. The West Indies triumphed in 2012 and 2016, while England won in 2010 and 2022.

Subhayan Dutta
Subhayan DuttaSports Writer

An M.A. in English Literature, Subhayan is an experienced journalist and sports writer. Having worked as a journalist at Hindustan Times, Subhayan covered diverse beats including sports, education, and health, showcasing his versatility and in-depth understanding of various subjects.