While T20 cricket is a format largely dominated by batters, the eight editions of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup have seen some incredible bowling performances to contradict the theory. Although smaller boundaries, heavier bats have tilted the game in the favour of batters, bowlers have found their way to steal the limelight with some breathtaking performances. 

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup has witnessed quite a few bowlers breach the five-wicket haul with most of them playing a pivotal role in their side’s win. As many as three Sri Lankans feature in the list of the best bowling performances in the history of the T20 World Cup.  

Here’s the list of the top bowling performances from the tournament:

Ajantha Mendis - 6/8 vs Zimbabwe, 2012

Sri Lanka’s mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis’ 6/8 is the best bowling figures in the history of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. He achieved the feat against Zimbabwe in the 2012 edition of the T20 World Cup. Mendis’ spectacular bowling effort saw Sri Lanka defend their total of 183 to register a thumping 82-run win. The win is the eighth biggest margin of victory (in terms of runs) in the marquee ICC tournament. Ajantha Mendis’ 6/8 is also the second-best bowling figures in T20 International cricket after Indian cricket team pacer Deepak Chahar’s figures of 6/7 against Bangladesh in 2019.   

Rangana Herath - 5/3 vs New Zealand, 2014

Another Sri Lankan spinner Rangana Herath has the second-best bowling figures in the T20 World Cup. Herath’s bowling figures of 5/3 against New Zealand at Chattogram helped Sri Lanka bundle the Kiwis for just 60 defending a paltry total of 120. The left-arm spinner’s match-winning contribution helped Sri Lanka march into the semi-final of the T20 World Cup 2014 where they emerged as the champions beating India in the final.  

Umar Gul - 5/6 vs New Zealand, 2009

Pakistan’s Umar Gul holds the record for the best bowling figures by a fast bowler in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. The former pacer’s match figures of 5/6 at The Oval in 2009 led Pakistan to bowl out New Zealand for just 99 runs, eventually winning the match comfortably by 6 wickets. Interestingly, Gul was the highest wicket-taker in that tournament with 13 wickets to his name. Known for his impressive yorkers, Gul is the only bowler to feature twice (2007, 2009) in the top wicket-takers list of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. 

Sam Curran - 5/10 vs Afghanistan, 2022

Sam Curran’s 5/10 is the best bowling figures by an Englishman in the shortest format of the game. His breathtaking performance helped England win their Super 12 match of the T20 World Cup 2022 against Afghanistan by five wickets at Perth Cricket Stadium.  

Ahsan Malik - 5/19 vs South Africa, 2014

Netherlands’ pacer Ahsan Malik’s 5/19 against South Africa at Chattogram in 2014 is the best bowling figures in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup by a player from an associate nation. Bowling first, Malik’s timely wickets kept South Africa down to 145. However, despite Malik’s splendid show, Netherlands’ narrowly missed out on a famous win by just six runs. 

Mujeeb Ur Rahman - 5/20 vs Scotland, 2021

Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman registered his career-best bowling figures of 5/20 in T20I cricket against Scotland in the Super 12 match of ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021. Mujeeb's spell helped Afghanistan skittle Scotland to their lowest T20I score of 60 to record a mammoth 130-run win. 

Mustafizur Rahman 5/22 vs New Zealand, 2016

New Zealand faced the wrath of Mustafizur’s guile in the Super 10 match of the T20 World Cup 2016. The Kiwi batters struggled to score against Rahman’s clever pace variations at the Eden Garden pitch that provided assistance to slower bowlers. Although Bangladesh lost the match, Mustafizur’s 5/22 is the best match figures at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. 

James Faulkner 5/27 vs Pakistan, 2016

James Faulkner’s 5/27 is the best bowling figures by an Australian in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. The left-arm pacer achieved the feat against Pakistan at Mohali in 2016. In the process, he also achieved his best match-figures in international cricket. His efforts saw Australia win the match by 21 runs.

Lasith Malinga 5/31 vs England, 2012

Lasith Malinga’s 5/31 is the best bowling figures by a Sri Lankan fast bowler in ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. His performance helped Sri Lanka win their final Super Eight match against England by 19 runs at Pallekele. Malinga’s 5/31 was the only five-wicket haul in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2012.  

Best bowling figures in T20 World Cup



Bowling Figures



Ajantha Mendis

Sri Lanka




Rangana Herath

Sri Lanka


New Zealand


Umar Gul



New Zealand


Sam Curran





Ahsan Malik



South Africa


Mujeeb Ur Rahman





Mustafizur Rahman



New Zealand


James Faulkner





Lasith Malinga

Sri Lanka




Featured photo: Ishara S.KODIKARA / AFP