Top 5 best bowling performers in ODI cricket history

Find out the bowlers who have made an enduring impact on the history of ODI cricket. Delve into the roster of the top 5 exceptional bowling maestros and their extraordinary feats showcased on

Sarah Andrew
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Glenn McGrath and Wanindu Hasaranga (Source - Twitter)

Sri Lankan leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga orchestrated a dazzling return to international cricket. His career-best figures of 7-19 played a pivotal role in securing an eight-wicket victory against Zimbabwe, clinching a 2-0 ODI series win in Colombo.

This extraordinary feat marked the second-best bowling performance in Sri Lanka's ODI history, only surpassed by Chaminda Vaas' legendary 8-19 against Zimbabwe 23 years ago. Hasaranga's spell of 7/19 not only solidified his place in Sri Lanka's cricket history but also drew comparisons with some of the greatest bowling performances in men's ODIs.

The leg-spinner's precision, variations, and ability to dismantle the opposition's batting lineup showcased his prowess as a spin wizard. Beyond individual glory, Hasaranga's contribution played a crucial role in Sri Lanka's series victory.

1)    Wanindu Hasaranga vs Zimbabwe- 7/19, 2024


Sri Lanka had just edged out Zimbabwe by a hair's breadth in the second ODI, winning by just two wickets. Every run would count in this decider. Zimbabwe opted to bat first, hoping to build a strong total. Their openers started well, putting on a solid 43-run partnership.

But then came the game-changer- Wanindu Hasaranga, the Sri Lankan spin wizard whose magical deliveries bamboozled the Zimbabwean batsmen, turning a promising start into a nightmare.

From 43/0, Zimbabwe crumbled to 48/4! Hasaranga ran riot, claiming a breathtaking 7 wickets for just 19 runs. His spell practically dismantled the entire Zimbabwean batting line-up, leaving them with a meagre 96 runs on the board. Facing such a small target, even a rain-shortened game of 27 overs was no obstacle for Sri Lanka. They cruised to victory, losing just two wickets along the way.

Hasaranga's heroics not only secured the win for Sri Lanka but also earned him the Player of the Match award. His phenomenal bowling performance was the undisputed highlight of the thrilling series finale.

2)    Rashid Khan vs West Indies- 7/18, 2017


Young Rashid Khan was already turning heads in the fast-paced world of T20 back in 2017 and was termed as the next big thing way back then only. But in a surprise twist, he pulled off a jaw-dropping performance in a different format – the one-day international battle against the West Indies.

Afghanistan, not exactly world-beaters at the time, managed a humble total of 213 runs. Most assumed the West Indies, playing on their home turf, would easily chase it down. But that's where things got interesting. 

Enter Rashid Khan, the spin bowler with a bag full of tricks. The West Indies were once at a comfortable position at 68/2 bundled like a pack of cards. Wickets started tumbling, one after another, like dominoes in a chain reaction. Rashid was unstoppable, conjuring up an unbelievable spell of 7 wickets for a mere 18 runs.

3)    Glenn McGrath vs Namibia- 7/15, 2003


 Australia was a force to reckon with in the 2003 World Cup and Namibia unfortunately found themselves right in their path. The Namibian team found themselves unfortunate to face a formidable Glenn McGrath in a match that, while expected to be a win for Australia, turned out to be more one-sided than anticipated.

Chasing a substantial target of 302, Namibia was dismissed for a mere 45, courtesy of McGrath's outstanding seven-wicket performance. His figures of 7/15 served as a stark reminder of the Australian team's strength and underscored McGrath's reputation as one of the premier players in the cricketing world.

4)    Shahid Afridi vs West Indies- 7/12, 2013


In the world of cricket, Shahid Afridi is a name that resonates with power-hitting and impactful bowling. However, his career has been marred by inconsistency. Despite this, there were instances where Afridi's all-round brilliance became the deciding factor in critical matches, one of which unfolded against the West Indies in 2013. 

In a display of sheer audacity, Afridi played a counter-attacking innings, scoring a remarkable 76 off just 55 balls. His aggressive style not only stabilized the innings but also provided Pakistan with a fighting chance, setting a target of 225. What followed was nothing short of a bowling masterclass.

 Afridi mesmerized the cricketing world with sensational figures of 7/12, single-handedly dismantling the West Indies batting order. The hosts were left reeling, and Pakistan secured a resounding victory by a massive margin of 126 runs.

5)    Chaminda Vaas vs Zimbabwe- 8/19, 2001


In Colombo, long before Wanindu Hasaranga's recent heroics, another Sri Lankan bowler carved his name into ODI history by decimating a Zimbabwe batting line-up. Chaminda Vaas was famous for his impeccable accuracy, and in 2001, that accuracy went into overdrive.

Facing Zimbabwe in Colombo, Vaas unleashed a bowling spell so fierce, it still stands as the best ever by a Sri Lankan bowler in ODIs. Zimbabwe, boasting batsmen like the legendary Flower brothers, Grant and Andy, alongside Stuart Carlisle, set a decent target. But against Vaas, even a decent target felt impossible. He ripped through their batting like a hot knife through butter, claiming an unbelievable 8 wickets for a measly 19 runs.

Rashid Khan Shahid Afridi Wanindu Hasaranga