Everyone loves an upset. People generally like to see the underdog win – unless, of course, it is their side that is losing. Each Cricket World Cup has seen its share of said surprises. Pleasant or not, these preserve the charm of the sporting event. And with every cricketing nation in the world watching, an upset in the world cup delivers the greatest impact.
The past couple of World Cups have seen a tad more than their share of the unexpected – probably a result of the many changes made to the format of the game over the years. Then again, cricket is a game of chance, as they say, and – not to undermine the efforts of the winning teams in the following list – luck does play a huge factor in most upsets.
Which is it? Chance or the game’s format itself? Perhaps a trip down memory lane is due. Following is a list of the greatest upsets in the history of the ICC Cricket World Cup (1975 – 2011).
Ireland vs England (2011)
In what was perhaps one of the most shocking, record-rich and exciting matches in World Cup history, Ireland was able to chase down England’s mammoth total of 325, setting a new record for the highest successful chase in a World Cup match courtesy of Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien, who lead the chase from the front with an explosive 113 off 67 balls, breaking the previous record for the fastest century in CWC history while .
Bangladesh vs England (2011)
Already having lost to Ireland, the beat-down English side was in for yet another surprise in its group stage match versus Bangladesh. Bundling England out in the 49th over for a low score of 225, the Tigers’ batting order collapsed to 8 down after Imrul Kayes’ was dismissed for 60 (off 100 balls). But thanks to a brilliant, unbeaten 9th wicket partnership (58 off 50 balls) between Mahmudullah and tail-ender Shafiul Islam, Bangladesh managed to pull through to snag a miracle of a victory.
Ireland vs Pakistan (2007)
A Pakistani batting order collapse followed by a solid knock of 72 off 107 balls by wicket-keeper batsman Niall O’Brien, earned the Irish their first ever win against an experienced side. Defending an embarrassingly low total of 132, Pakistan looked on helplessly as Ireland ran home with 3 wickets and almost 9 overs to spare.
Bangladesh vs India (2007)
Falling victim to a superb spell of 4 for 38 by Mashrafe Mortaza, the Indian batting order crumbled, giving Bangladesh 191 to chase. After that, it was smooth sailing for the tigers as they chased down the target with relative ease, finishing on a comprehensive note with 5 wickets and 9 balls to spare.
Kenya vs Sri Lanka (2003)
As Kenyan Allrounder Collins Obuya’s five-wicket haul ripped through the Sri Lanka’s middle order, Lankan fans watched in horror as their team fell 53 runs short of the posted target (211), bundled out with 5 whole overs to spare. The Kenyans only home match to date ended in a comprehensive victory for them against one of the best ODI sides in the world.
Zimbabwe vs India (1999)
Owing to solid knocks by brothers Grant and Andy Flower, Zimbabwe posted a challenging total of 252 for India to chase. The Zimbabwean bowling lineup seemed in sync that day, grabbing wickets every now and then. But the fate of the match was uncertain till the very end. As India were just 4 runs short of victory and Zimbabwe, one wicket away, Henry Olonga’s ball caught Vinkatesh Prasad plumb in front of the wicket, sealing India’s fate with 5 overs to spare.
Zimbabwe vs South Africa (1999)
An exemplary all-round performance by Zimbabwean allrounder Neil Johnson (72 runs off 117 balls and bowling figures of 3 for 27) led the inexperienced side to a comprehensive victory over an ODI cricket giant. With 8 of their batsmen failing to get to double figures, South Africa were bowled out for 185 while chasing Zimbabwe’s total of 233.
Bangladesh vs Pakistan (1999)
In their very first World Cup appearance, the Tigers were able to land a fairly comprehensive victory against the then World Cup favorites – a Pakistani side at its prime – winning by 62 runs with 5.3 overs to spare. Pakistan’s top order failed to hold steady against the Bangladesh onslaught, with three key batsmen falling victim to Khaled Mahmud.
Kenya vs West Indies (1996)
In shocker of a low-scoring match, the inexperienced Kenyan side managed to pull off a remarkably comprehensive win over a star-laden West Indian side. Chasing a meager score of 161, only two West Indian batsmen were able to score in double figures while the entire team was dismissed for an embarrassing 92 with over 14 overs to spare. Kenyan allrounder Maurice Odumbe was elected Man of the Match for grabbing 3 wickets for 15 runs.
Zimbabwe vs Australia (1983)
In what was perhaps the first account of an upset in cricket World Cup history, a close contest ensued, the result of which saw the strong Australian side 13 runs behind the posted total. Zimbabwean allrounder Duncan Fletcher shown with 69 runs off 84 balls and a four-wicket haul.
Author Sameed Khan