He lifted the trophy three times, took more wickets than anyone else in the history of the tournament and has the best figures in its history; it’s fair to say Glenn McGrath had a huge impact at the ICC Cricket World Cup.
Today, the Australia legend turns 48. In honour of his truly exceptional record at the World Cup, we delve into some of his finest moments at the tournament.
No man has taken more wickets at the ICC Cricket World Cup than Glenn McGrath.
Between his debut at the tournament in 1996, and his final appearance in 2007, McGrath claimed 71 wickets in 39 games – three more than his nearest rival Muttiah Muralitharan.
He played seven games in his debut tournament, taking six wickets. It was a different story altogether in 1999, as he took 18 wickets – including 5/14 against West Indies – on the way to lifting the trophy for the first time.
His upward trajectory at the tournament continued, as he left the 2003 edition with 21 wickets and 2007 with a best of 26.
Finishing with a bang
He may have been 37, and nearing the end of his career, but McGrath’s most prolific World Cup came at his last in 2007.
His 26 wickets were not just a personal best, but a tournament best for most wickets at a single edition of the World Cup, beating the record of 23 held by Chaminda Vaas.
McGrath started the tournament at his economical yet dangerous best, taking 3/14 against Scotland.
After two against the Netherlands and a solitary wicket against South Africa, McGrath hit his straps, grabbing three wickets in four consecutive games (3/31 vs West Indies, 3/16 vs Bangladesh, 3/62 vs England, 3/17 vs Ireland).
He took a brace against New Zealand in the quarters, before a Player-of-the-Match performance against South Africa – 3/18 from eight overs – helped fire Australia into the final.
He ensured he went out with a bang, once again being Australia’s most economical fast bowler, taking 1/31 on his way to a third consecutive final win in his last-ever ODI appearance.
Seven overs, 4 maidens, 15 runs, 7 wickets. Yet another record to add to McGrath’s list; the best-ever bowling figures recorded at the World Cup.
His feat came against Namibia at the 2003 edition, as Australia bowled their opponents out for just 45 in 14 overs.
He dismissed Jan-Berrie Burger, Morne Karg, Danie Keulder, Gavin Murgatroyd, Deon Kotze, Louis Burger and Bjorn Kotze on his way to surpassing former West Indies bowler Winston Davis’ previous best figures of 7/51, a record held since 1983.
McGrath is one of a select few players to have lifted the World Cup on three separate occasions – 1999, 2003 and 2007.
His first final appearance went perfectly, as he took 2/13 off nine overs to help Australia bowl Pakistan out for 132.
He played another vital role in the 2003 final, finishing with figures of 3/52 against India. Undoubtedly, his main feat was removing Sachin Tendulkar in the first over for just 4.
He was again the rock of Australia’s bowling line-up in the 2007 showpiece, taking a wicket and conceding just three boundaries in his seven overs against Sri Lanka.
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