The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, a pinnacle of One-Day International (ODI) cricket, has consistently delivered thrilling encounters, unforgettable moments, and the occasional shockwave as underdog teams have risen to the occasion, stunning formidable opponents. There are many instances of the most remarkable upsets in World Cup history.
Where expectations were defied, and the cricketing world witnessed the triumph of the underdogs. Big teams such as India and England have found themselves at the receiving end. Here’s a look at the 6 biggest upsets in the tournament’s history:
1. Netherlands stuns South Africa in 2023:
Date: October 17, 2023
Venue: HPCA Stadium, Dharamsala
In a surprising turn of events during the 15th match of the CWC 2023, the underdog Netherlands managed to stun South Africa in a rain-affected encounter in Dharamshala on October 17. Due to persistent rain, the game was shortened to a 43-overs-a-side contest. South African skipper Temba Bavuma won the toss and opted to field first, taking advantage of overcast conditions. The Proteas’ bowlers exploited the favorable conditions, and Kagiso Rabada and Marco Jansen contributed by taking two wickets each.
The Dutch batting side struggled, with the score at 112/6 after 27 overs. However, their captain Scott Edwards initiated a counter-attack, receiving support from the lower-order batsmen, guiding them to a total of 245/8. When it was Protea’s turn to bat, Edwards made a strategic move by utilizing spinners from both ends. This tactic paid off handsomely as the Netherlands’ bowlers consistently disrupted South Africa’s innings. Except for David Miller and Keshav Maharaj, the South African batters lacked the determination to resist, leading to their ultimate dismissal for 207.
2. Afghanistan’s historic win over defending champions England in 2023:
Date: October 15, 2023
Venue: Arun Jaitley International Stadium, Delhi.
In the CWC 2023, England faced Afghanistan in a highly anticipated match. Afghanistan batted first and posted a competitive 284 runs, with Rahmanullah Gurbaz being the top-scorer with 80. Chasing this target, England was bowled out for 215 runs, giving Afghanistan a remarkable victory. This result marked one of the biggest upsets in the history of the World Cup.
3. Ireland’s heroic victory over England in 2011:
Date: March 2, 2011
Venue: M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
In the 2011 World Cup, Ireland faced England in a group-stage fixture. Ireland needed 328 runs to win, which seemed an imposing target. Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien played one of the greatest World Cup innings, scoring an astonishing 113 off 63 balls. His spectacular century guided Ireland to a memorable win. Ireland reached the target with just three wickets remaining, causing one of the most famous upsets in World Cup history. This win showcased the fighting spirit and determination of associate nations
4. Bangladesh’s iconic win against India in 2007:
Date: March 17, 2007
Venue: Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain
In the 2007 World Cup, India batted first and posted a total of 191 runs. Sourav Ganguly was the top-scorer for India with 66 runs and Yuvraj Singh contributed 47 runs. Mashrafe Mortaza was the standout bowler for Bangladesh, taking four wickets. In reply, Bangladesh successfully chased down the target, scoring 192/5 with five wickets down. Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, and Mushfiqur Rahim played important roles, scoring crucial half-centuries. This historic win marked one of the most celebrated upsets in World Cup history.
5. Kenya’s triumph over West Indies in 1996:
Date: February 29, 1996
Venue: Nehru Stadium, Pune
In the 1996 World Cup, Kenya faced the mighty West Indies, a two-time World Cup-winning team. Kenya batted first and posted a modest 166 runs. It seemed like a straightforward chase for the West Indies. However, inspired by brilliant bowling performances from Rajab Ali and Maurice Odumbe, Kenya stunned the West Indies by bowling them out for just 93 runs. Ali took three crucial wickets, including Brian Lara, while Odumbe also claimed three wickets. This stunning victory by Kenya highlighted the competitiveness and unpredictability that associate nations could bring to the World Cup.
6. Zimbabwe shocks Australia in 1983:
Date: June 9, 1983
Venue: Trent Bridge, Nottingham
In the 1983 Cricket World Cup, Zimbabwe considered a minnow at the time, produced one of the most significant upsets in World Cup history. They faced a formidable Australian side led by Kim Hughes. Batting first, Zimbabwe posted 239/6 in 60 overs. This was a competitive score, but few believed they could defend it against a strong Australian batting lineup. Nevertheless, Zimbabwe’s disciplined bowling and fielding performance shocked the cricketing world. They managed to restrict Australia to just 226/7. Duncan Fletcher played a pivotal role in Zimbabwe’s victory, taking three wickets. Eventually, Zimbabwe secured a 13-run win, causing one of the most celebrated upsets in World Cup history.