Cricket is generally called a batsmen’s game, and the bowlers have to put in the hard yards each time to get the rewards. There is a common saying in cricket that the batters on their own will give you a match or two, but it is the bowlers who can win you a tournament, and this holds if we glance at the majority of multi-national tournaments held in the past.
Especially, Death Overs are when the batters try to maximize the start they got during their essay and accumulate as much as they can. In ODIs, overs between 41-50 are referred to as the last phase of the innings, but a team can take the innings as deep as possible and then begin an assault.
Death bowling is an art yet to be perfected or mastered by anyone in the history of cricket. Still, at the same time, a few of them have come closer to being billed as death overs specialists. We will list them here based on the number of wickets taken and the all-important parameter of limited-overs cricket, the Economy rate.
In this article, we list the top ten wicket-takers in death overs in ODI cricket, i.e., the bowlers who have taken the most wickets in the overs between 41 and 50.
Most Wickets in Death Overs in ODI
|Lasith Malinga (SL)||123||137||6.70||20.08|
|Mashrafe Mortaza (BAN)||95||134||7.64||23.36|
|Brett Lee (AUS)||93||133||6.59||20.38|
|Zaheer Khan (IND)||90||130||6.50||21.98|
|Dwayne Bravo (WI)||82||100||7.02||21.93|
|Muttaih Muralidaran (SL)||82||136||4.70||18.18|
|James Anderson (ENG)||78||113||7.45||25.55|
|Dale Steyn (SA)||76||81||6.45||16.34|
|Umar Gul (PAK)||69||75||7.41||18.27|
|Mustafizur Rahman (BAN)||65||58||6.39||15.10|
Key insights from the above stats
4 – The number of bowlers to feature in both this and the T20I list as far as highest wicket-takers in the death overs are concerned. They are Lasith Malinga from Sri Lanka, Dwayne Bravo from West Indies, and the Pakistani duo Umar Gul, & Saeed Ajmal. So in terms of wickets, it is safe to say they are some of the best death bowlers in the modern-day game in limited-overs.
When we look at some of these names, they are easily among the biggest in world cricket regarding bowlers. So this shows that bowlers who are adaptable to any situation will be highly successful. For instance, Dale Steyn, Zaheer Khan, James Anderson, Mashrafe Mortaza, and Umar Gul are well-known pace spearheads for their respective teams during their time as international players. Time and again, they gave breakthroughs with the new ball, bowled a few handy overs in the middle overs, and then came back at the death overs. So this complete package is needed to be a legendary bowler.
If we say death bowling, one can imagine only the fast bowlers playing that role, but few spinners have, time and again, shown they can be quite a handful in all situations. Muralidharan, the Sri Lankan legend, unsurprisingly made it to the list of top wicket-takers in death overs in ODIs with 82 scalps, but the likes of Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal finding a place in both places and Rashid Khan in T20Is, show how the game has evolved thanks to the shortest format of the game. We now see spinners bowling in the end-overs more often than before.
The list shows the importance of death bowling in limited-overs cricket. We can see players from the teams that have won the world cups, and their wickets at the end-overs must have been very significant in winning the tournament. For instance, Zaheer Khan’s brilliant show in all the phases of the game was a key factor in India’s world cup triumph in 2011, Brett Lee’s performance in the 2003 WC.
An avid Cricket follower who likes to write on the gentleman’s game