Since 2010 there has been a considerable change in the white-ball formats, especially in the ODI format. Earlier there used to only one ball, the fielding restrictions were different and boundary sizes were long. But in the last 10 years, all these things have changed. There are two new balls in the ODI format, there are only four fielders allowed outside the circle from overs 11-40 and the boundary sizes just keep reducing. In short, bowling in the ODI format is a nightmare.
Batting has become easy and bowling has become difficult in the ODI format in the last decade. It is almost a given that it is becoming my bat vs your bat rather than bat vs ball. Having said that, bowlers are the ultimate survivors of the game and they keep finding ways of challenging the batsmen. On that note, let’s have a look at the top five ODI bowlers of the last decade who have done something special and found a way to challenge the batsmen.
5. Rashid Khan – 133 wickets in 71 matches
Rashid Khan started playing the ODI format in 2015 but he is still in the top 20 leading wicket-takers from the last decade. He has taken more wickets in five years than bowlers who have played for all the ten years of the last decade. The leg-spinner from Afghanistan has picked up 133 wickets in just 71 matches at a staggering average of 18.54 and an economy rate of 4.16.
You can argue that he has played most of his games against weaker nations but he has done well even against the top nations whenever he has got a chance. Khan is still in the early 20s and he has a lot of time to become the best ODI bowler in the world.
4. Trent Boult – 164 wickets in 89 matches
The left-arm pacer from New Zealand has been one of the top wicket-takers in the ODI format in the last decade. Boult has picked up 164 wickets in just 89 games at an average of 25.06 and an economy rate of 5.05. He is one of those new ball bowlers who will get early wickets with the swing.
In the 2015 World Cup, he was the joint highest wicket-taker with 22 wickets from just 9 games. He used to give the early breakthroughs for his team. Boult is a terrific bowler, and he will keep getting better in this format.
3. Imran Tahir – 173 wickets in 107 games
Imran Tahir is one of the few spinners who have done well throughout the ten years of the last decade. Many spinners emerged in the latter half but Tahir was a standout spinner throughout the last decade. The South African leg-spinner picked up 173 wickets in 107 games at an average of 24.83 and an economy rate of 4.65.
On his day he has run through many top sides which is a great quality about leg-spinners. Imran Tahir famously bowled the first ball of the 2019 World Cup and picked up a wicket off the second ball. There is no doubt that Tahir has been a great performer for South Africa in the ODI format.
2. Lasith Malinga – 248 wickets in 162 matches
Lasith Malinga is the only bowler to take more than 200 ODI wickets in the last decade. Malinga picked up 248 wickets in 162 matches at an average of 28.74 and an economy rate of 5.46. Lasith Malinga has been one of the finest white-ball bowlers to have ever played the game.
Sri Lankans are missing a bowler like Malinga who can just change the game in a matter of 2-3 overs. Most of the cricket fans will be missing the Sri Lankan pacer from the international circuit.
1. Mitchell Starc – 172 wickets in 85 matches
Mitchell Starc has been the best ODI bowler in the last decade. He has picked up 172 wickets in 85 matches at an average of 20.99 and an economy rate of 5.02. He has those dangerous Yorkers which can get rid of any batsmen. The Australian left-arm pacer has delivered when it has mattered the most.
In the 2015 and the 2019 ODI World Cup, he was the leading wicket-taker in the tournament. The ball he bowled to get rid of Brendon McCullum in the 2015 World Cup Final and the one he bowled to Ben Stokes in the league game against England are two of the best balls bowled by Mitchell Starc. He will remain a key player for Australia in the white-ball formats.