The Best T20 Bowlers Of All Time in Cricket

While T20 is a batsmen’s game, some bowlers made commendable impact in the shortest format of the game. Today we discuss and rank the best T20 bowlers of all time in world cricket. Read on…

The first men’s T20 international was played in 2005 between Australia and New Zealand. It was dominated by batsmen, though.

In all these years, it has been seen that a bowler’s job in this format is nothing less than a herculean task. It takes immense forethought, courage, and right execution to excel in this structure.

There have been few bowlers who made themselves flawless for this format. Despite all the odds, they came out to be stunning with the ball.

The Best T20 Bowlers Of All Time in Cricket

This is our list of the best T20 bowlers of all time:

No.BowlerT20I Wickets
15.Samuel Badree56
14.Ish Sodhi73
13.Umar Gul85
12.Tabraiz Shamsi49
11.Imran Tahir63
10.Sunil Narine52
9.Shakib Al Hassan106
8.Mustafizur Rehman76
7.Yuzvendra Chahal63
6.Ajantha Mendis66
5.Tim Southee99
4.Dale Steyn64
3.Jasprit Bumrah59
2.Rashid Khan95
1.Lasith Malinga107

15. Samuel Badree

Kicking off our list of the best T20 bowlers of all time is Samuel Badree.

Badree was born on 9th March 1981 in Trinidad. He was one of those underrated bowlers who silently kept working for their team.

samuel badree: Best T20 Bowlers Of All Time
Credits: Zeenews

The right-arm leg break bowler made his T20I debut in 2012 against New Zealand.

With his abrupt googly, he could perplex any batsman. But he did not start his career on a high but he crawled to the spin brilliance in a few years.

Samuel Badree’s remarkable trait to contain the runs by keeping the economy as low as 6.18 throughout his career was praiseworthy. The World T20 2014 would be the highlight of his career.

He took a total of 11 wickets in 5 matches of the tournament with an average of 10.27. He even took 4 wickets against Bangladesh which was his career-best.

He was part of the WI team that won two consecutive T20 World Cups in 2014 and 2016.

Badree has taken 56 wickets in 52 matches with a decent economy and average. He has still not retired but considering his age, he might not get a place in the team any further.

T20 International Stats

Strike Rate20.46

14. Ish Sodhi

If any team wants to excel in this modern-day T20 cricket, then having a leg spinner in the eleven is the best bet.

Ish Sodhi is one such leggie from New Zealand who has taken the nation far ahead with his sheer skills in the game. 

ish sodhi: Best T20 Bowlers Of All Time
Credits: Espncricinfo

Sodhi made his T20I debut on 5 July 2014 against West Indies.

With spinners like Mitchell Santner and Daniel Vettori already present in the NZ team, it was not at all an easy task to break into the troop.

His breakthrough moment came in the 2016 World T20 where he took a bunch of 10 wickets in 5 matches with an incredible average of 12.

He was also the 3rd highest wicket-taker of the tournament. His best came recently when he took a dazzling 4 wicket haul against Bangladesh that helped NZ win by 66 runs.

He has taken 73 wickets in 57 t20Is till now at an average of 21.73. He still has years by his side and he surely looks promising.

NZ will be happier side as they have one of the best spinners of the current times.

T20 International Stats

Strike Rate16.15

13. Umar Gul

Pakistan has always been rich in producing quality bowlers irrespective of the format of the game. Umar Gul was the product of the same factory.

He made his T20I debut against Kenya in 2007. He was the mainstay in the team. His accurate line and length made him reliable.

umar gul: Best T20 Bowlers Of All Time
Credits: Indianexpress

His ability to bowl near perfect seam is next to none. At the death overs, the captain had only one name, that is Umar Gul.

He was equally good with the older ball. His scintillating performance came against South Africa in Centurion where he rattled them with 5 wickets by leaking just 6 runs in 2.2 overs that helped Pak win by huge 95 runs.

He also played a crucial role in Pakistan’s successful 2009 T20 WC campaign.

In his career, he took 85 wickets in 65 T20Is with an average of 16.96.

He retired in 2020 after having a delightful overall career and inspired many to take the heat of T20I cricket.

T20 International Stats

Strike Rate14.15

12. Tabraiz Shamsi

Chinaman bowlers are one of the rarest breeds in cricket. Tabriz Shamsi is one such effective spinner from South Africa.

He believes in his variations but his accuracy makes him stand apart.

tabraiz shamsi: Best T20 Bowlers Of All Time
Credits: DNAindia

He made his debut versus England in 2017 and he impressed right away in his first match with his accurate and economical show.

With the downfall of Imran Tahir, Shamsi began to sneak into the durable lineup of the team. He slowly began to rise through the bridge.

His best came against Pakistan where he took 4 wicket haul and gave 25 runs in 4 overs, though his team couldn’t win that match.

He is also famous for his unique celebrations after taking a wicket. 

He is 31 and has quite a few good year’s ahead which only concludes his and the team’s success in the future.

Till now he has taken 49 wickets in 42 matches at an SR of 19.1. It won’t surprise anyone if he ends his career as one of the modern greats in T20Is.

T20 International Stats

Strike Rate19.1

11. Imran Tahir

Imran Tahir has been one of the best leg spinners to ever play the white ball game. With his low height arm action, the googly he bowls is fatal.

It would take a high-quality technique to tackle him when he is on the song.

imran tahir: Best T20 Bowlers Of All Time
Credits: TheStatesman

Tahir made his debut against Sri Lanka in 2013. With the figures of 4-0-22-1 in his first match, he made it clear that he was in for big things.

He was probably the hardest spinner to pick whether it is powerplay or death overs. His best came against Zimbabwe in 2018 where he took 5 wicket haul to hand SA a win by 34 runs.

He was the highest wicket-taker of the 2014 T20 World Cup tournament with 12 wickets in 5 matches at an average below 11. 

His marathon running sprint celebration after taking a wicket is quite famous and enjoyable.

He was a late starter. Even now he is 42 years old but his tactics and energy are unmistakable. But now he is being sidelined by the SA management most probably due to his age.

T20 International Stats

Strike Rate13.41

10. Sunil Narine

Sunil Narine is one of his kind. He is probably the most mysterious mystery bowler in the world of cricket.

With high arm loopy action and accuracy, he can startle any batsman. His ability to turn the ball at his will makes him lethal.

sunil narine: Best T20 Bowlers Of All Time
Credits: Scroll

Narine made his debut against Australia in 2012. He did not take long to make his mark as he took 4 wickets by leaking just 12 runs in his 4 overs against NZ in his debut year which is still his career-best performance.

His line and variations were so confusing that a batsman did not know how to even defend him.

Narine won the matches for his team single-handedly in various instances. His economy of 6.02 throughout his career is mesmerizing. 

He might have achieved greater heights if he had not been restricted for his illegal action, though he made an effective comeback after some altercations.

He is a utility batsman in the team down the order. He still has days in cricket and can help WI to have some big junctures in future.

T20 International Stats

Strike Rate21.19

9. Shakib Al Hassan

A Bangladesh stalwart from the very beginning of his career, Shakib Al Hassan has been one of the greatest spinners of all-rounders in the history of cricket.

With side arm loopy action, he could make any better run for the money.

Shakib made his T20I debut against Zimbabwe in 2006. He has performed consistently for a long period.

He currently sits at 2nd in the list of most wickets in a T20I career as he has taken 106 wickets in 88 matches.

Shakib also has a record of best figures of 5 wickets in a match as a captain. He has taken 4 wicket hauls 5 times in his career.

His best came against West Indies in 2018 when he took 5 wickets on 20 runs in his 4 overs of quota that assisted Bangladesh a win by 36 runs.

Shakib is a fine batsman too but his bowling makes the team more powerful. He has an economy of 6.73 and an average of 20.68.

If he could be a bit more temperamental and patient in his attitude, he may achieve greater success.

T20 International Stats

Strike Rate18 42

8. Mustafizur Rehman

Next up on our list of the best T20 bowlers of all time is Mustafizur Rehman. Mustafizur is one of the many young talents from Bangladesh that are ruling the white ball arena.

With a tilted side arm action and curly fingers, he makes a batter look tiny. His off cutters are truly unplayable at any point of the game.

Mustafizur made his debut against Pakistan in 2015 at an age of nineteen years. He began with figures of 4-0-20-2.

In death overs, he is invincible. In addition, if the pitch is a bit sloppy and slow, he could outplay even the greatest batsman on the Earth.

His career-best bowling performance came against New Zealand in 2016 when he took 5 wickets on 22 runs in 4 overs but unluckily they lost by 95 runs.

He has already proved himself in the other two formats of the game.

He has taken 76 wickets in 52 T20I matches at an average of 18.66 and a strike rate of 14.96. He is a rising star bowler among other greats in white-ball cricket.

In years to come, Mustafizur can be the greatest limited-overs bowler.

T20 International Stats

Strike Rate14.96

7. Yuzvendra Chahal

Started as a chess player, Yuzvendra Chahal ended up being a successful white-ball bowler for India in recent years.

He doesn’t have any specific trait but his cunning thinking and presence of mind make him unbeatable.

Yuzvendra chahal: Best T20 Bowlers Of All Time
Credits: Wisden

He debuted in a T20I against Zimbabwe in 2016. It was never easy to take the place of someone like R Ashwin in the team.

But his breakthrough moment came against England in 2017 where he bowled beautifully and took 6 wickets and gave just 25 runs in his 4 overs on a batting supported pitch that handed India a big win by 75 runs.

This performance was also his career-best to date. He has been groomed as a wicket-taking bowler.

It has been seen that whenever pressure began to mount on the team, he successfully changed the game with his sharp bowling.

In 49 T20Is, he has taken 49 wickets at an average of 25.3 and a strike rate of 18.24. He is performing consistently. He is gradually becoming a mainstay in the Indian white-ball team.

T20 International Stats

Strike Rate18.24

6. Ajantha Mendis

Ajantha Mendis was an untraditional spinner who could bowl a variety of deliveries. He is probably the only off-break bowler who could bowl a googly and make it look normal.

Ajantha mendia: Best T20 Bowlers Of All Time
Credits: Scroll

Carrom bowl was his trademark signature variety that was arduous to pick for any batsman.

He made his T20I debut against Zimbabwe in 2008 where he clattered Zimbabwe by taking 4 wickets in his inaugural T20I match.

If not more, he took another 4 wicket haul in the very next match to his debut against the same team. He began only bowler to take two consecutive 4 wicket take-ups.

Mendis holds the record of the fastest bowler to reach 50 wickets in T20Is in 26 innings. He also stands at 1 in terms of most maidens (2) in a T20I inning. 

He took 66 wickets in 39 T20Is at an impressive economy of 6.45 and a brilliant average of 6.45.

In 2019, he announced to retire from all forms of cricket. Indisputably, he was the best white-ball spinner from Sri Lanka along with Muthiah Muralitharan.

T20 International Stats

Strike Rate13.41

5. Tim Southee

Conceivably, Tim Southee is the best fast bowler in T20 for New Zealand. His lethal outswingers with an immensely accurate line and length are one of the most beautiful sights in cricket. 

Tim southee: Best T20 Bowlers Of All Time
Credits: Outlook

Tim Southee made his T20I debut against England in 2008.

He got only one wicket in his first match. But with time he raised himself from a traditional fast bowler to a modern-day quick by including some of the variations in his bowling armour.

His career-best accomplishment came against Pakistan in 2010 where he bowled with the figures of 4-1-18-5 that crucified Pakistan and later NZ won by 4 wickets. 

Tim Southee has played 88 T20Is for NZ and took 99 wickets at the strike rate of 17.76. He has been a workhorse for the team. Every other bowler plans strategies around him only.

T20 International Stats

Strike Rate17.76

4. Dale Steyn

Dale Steyn, the name is enough to suck the life out of the batsmen all over the world.

Irrespective of the format, he was the most dangerous quick that the globe has ever seen. Swing, pace, seam, yorker, bouncer, he had everything in his shield.

Dale steyn: Best T20 Bowlers Of All Time
Credits: Newsbytes

Dale Steyn made his T20I debut against New Zealand in Wanderers Stadium in 2007. He was economical and strike bowler in T20 cricket.

His career-best came in his early phase against West Indies in 2007 only when he took 4 wickets on 9 runs in 3 overs in a low scoring 13 over match that WI won eventually. 

In 47 T20Is, he took 64 wickets at an average of 18.36. His economy remained under 6.95 throughout his career.

His injuries made his downfall and he took retirement in 2021 from all forms of cricket.

T20 International Stats

Strike Rate15.86

3. Jasprit Bumrah

Jasprit Bumrah is, undoubtedly, on the path of greatness in all 3 formats but in T20Is, he is sensational.

With a strange high arm bowling action that comes from backward extreme to forward extreme with a bit of tilt and rolling fingers over the bowl, he spills fire through the air.

Jasprit bumrah: Best T20 Bowlers Of All Time
Credits: EconomicTimes

Bumrah made his T20I debut against Australia in 2016 and bowled a dream spell that included 3 wickets and 23 runs in 3.3 overs that resulted in an Indian win by 37 runs.

He never looked back and gave a better rendition each time he stepped on the field. His best came against Zimbabwe where he took 3 wickets for 11 runs.

In 2016, he was the highest wicket-taker of the year with 21 scalps.

His energy, despite a tiring action, is unmatchable. His determination is evident when he bowls.

The aggression that spills out of his eyes is mesmerizing. He is going to be the greatest bowler from India in future for sure. 

T20 International Stats

Strike Rate18.22

2. Rashid Khan

The runner-up of our list of the best T20 bowlers of all time is Rashid Khan.

Rashid is the most impactful T20 specialist bowler on the planet right now. His aggression mixed up with raw talent and skill makes him ferocious in this format of the game.

Rashid khan: Best T20 Bowlers Of All Time
Credits: Aryasports

Certainly, he is the wisest spinner among all.

Rashid Khan made his T20I debut against Zimbabwe in 2015 at a very young age but his maturity could beat an experienced player.

In his first T20I, he bowled as 4-0-20-1. Currently, he has the best bowling average and strike rate in T20Is.

His best came against Ireland where he took 5 wickets for 3 runs in 2 overs including a maiden over.

In 51 T20Is, he has taken 95 wickets and needs just 5 more to cross 100. He is the greatest leg spinner of the current times. In the coming year, he will only rise to the throne.

T20 International Stats

Strike Rate12.10

1. Lasith Malinga

Lasith Malinga, “The Yorker King”. Doesn’t the name say everything about him!? Though he was impeccable in all formats, he was genuinely made for T20Is.

Lasith malinga: Best T20 Bowlers Of All Time
Credits: TOI

With his unorthodox weird action with immaculate accuracy and wisdom, he could drown any batsman under his skill ocean.

Malinga made his T20I debut against England in 2006. He is the only bowler to take 4 wickets in 4 bowls in both ODIs and T20Is.

In his T20I career, he took 5 five-wicket hauls that are second to none. In 2019, against New Zealand, he became the first bowler to cross 100 wickets in T20Is.

His perfect yorkers would be his career highlights. His best came at the twilight of his career when he took 5 wickets for 6 runs against New Zealand in 2019.

He ended his career with 107 (most) wickets in 83 matches at an average of 19.79. No matter how many great bowlers we see in future, none will be like Lasith Malinga, making him #1 on our list of the best T20 bowlers of all time.

T20 International Stats

Strike Rate16.81

Read More:

Best T20 Bowlers of all time: Conclusion

So there you have it folks- our list of the best t20 bowlers of all time. Many of these T20 bowlers retired but some are still making every presence of theirs count.

Some players might have been left out of the list but you cannot deny the excellence of the ones included.

Many young bowlers are emerging from different nations who look promising. We hope they go great in the future.

Which T20 bowler is your favorite? Did we miss out on your favorite bowler in our list of the best t20 bowlers of all time? Do let us know by tweeting us at @weknowcricket. Cheers!

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