Top Five fastest balls bowled in ODI World Cup history

The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup has seen some quality fast-bowling spells since its inception. Along with the spells we have also witnessed the barrier of speed being broken on several occasions. Interestingly all the top five fastest balls bowled in World Cup history were bowled in the 2003 edition of the tournament played in South Africa which Australia won. 

If we go a bit further in the list then we will find eight of the fastest balls bowled in the history of the World Cup were bowled in the same edition. It is safe to say that the 2003 Cricket World Cup was the best in terms of fast bowling as some of the best fastest bowlers that the world has seen played in that edition. To add to that the fast and bouncy pitches of South Africa made these bowlers more lethal. 

In this article, we will look at the top five fastest balls bowled in the history of the Cricket World Cup.

Shoaib Akhtar: 161.3 Kmph

The Rawalpindi Express as he is famously known was arguably the fastest bowler the world has ever seen. He would terrorize the batters with his pace and look. The fire in his eyes to dominate the batters could be seen when he ran in to bowl especially against teams like Australia and India as they were the two oppositions that Shoaib enjoyed playing against the most. 

He was at his absolute best from 1999 to 2003 when he would dismiss the batters for fun and would make the best batters of that era look like tailenders by the way he dismissed them. More than the dismissal him setting up batters before getting them bowled or LBW was a treat to watch. Shoaib Akhtar’s 161.3 kmph speed on the last ball of the fourth over of England’s innings against Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup is the accurate speed for the fastest delivery bowled in World Cup history. Here is the speed of each ball bowled by Shoaib Akhtar in that over.

OverBowlerBatterBowling speed
3.1Shoaib AkhtarNick Knight153.3 kmph
3.2Shoaib AkhtarNick Knight158.4 kmph
3.3Shoaib AkhtarNick Knight158.5 kmph
3.4Shoaib AkhtarNick Knight157.4 kmph
3.5Shoaib AkhtarNick Knight159.5 kmph
3.6Shoaib AkhtarNick Knight161.3 kmph (fastest)

The over is the fastest over bowled by a bowler in terms of bowling speed in World Cup history. 

Shoaib Akhtar earned the tag of ‘Rawalpindi Express’ for his fast-paced deliveries in ODI World Cup 2003

Brett Lee: 160.7 Kmph

Australia is known for producing world-class fast bowlers. We have seen some quality fast bowlers playing for Australia but when it comes to pace no one comes close to Brett Lee. Since making his debut in the late 90’s Lee made a name for himself in a bowling lineup that had the likes of Glenn McGrath. Like Shoaib, Lee used to terrorize the batters with his pace. He was in his prime in the 2003 World Cup and bowled some memorable spells in the tournament. But his most memorable spell came against England where he bowled a ball at 160.7 Kmph which is the second-fastest delivery in World Cup history.

Brett Lee World Cup
Image Credits: TheSlowerball

Brett Lee: 160.1 Kmph

The third fastest delivery in World Cup history is also bowled by Brett Lee who bowled a delivery at 160.1 Kmph against Sri Lanka, Lee and Akhtar are the only two bowlers to feature at least twice in the list of top five bowlers who have bowled the fastest deliveries in World Cup history. In Akhtar’s case, he has done so thrice.

Shoaib Akhtar: 159.5 Kmph

It would be fair to say that the 2003 World Cup was Shoaib Akhtar’s World Cup without a doubt. He was in the form of his life and was bowling absolute thunderbolts to batters who had no clue as to how to tackle the fast bowler. 

It was a breakthrough tournament for him as he cemented his name as the world's fastest bowler by the way he bowled in that tournament 

Shoaib Akhtar: 158.5 Kmph

The pacer finds his name yet again on the list as he bowled the fifth-fastest ball in the World Cup against England. It was a match to remember for Shoaib as he bowled three of the top five fastest deliveries in the history of the World Cup in that match. This particular delivery was bowled at a speed of 158.5 Kmph

Fastest balls bowled in World Cup history

PositionPlayer NameSpeedTeamOpponent NameYear
1Shoaib Akhtar161.3 kmphPakistanEngland2003
2Brett Lee160.7 kmphAustraliaEngland2003
3Brett Lee160.1 kmphAustraliaSri Lanka2003
4Shoaib Akhtar159.5 kmphPakistanEngland2003
5Shoaib Akhtar158.5 kmphPakistanEngland2003

Image Credit: CricketRepublic

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