The ICC Cricket World Cup is the biggest cricket tournament in the world where the elite cricketing nations of the world compete against each other to establish their supremacy. Australia has emerged as the most successful team in this competition with 5 title wins while India and West Indies have won the World Cup twice. Pakistan, Sri Lanka and England have won the silverware once in their history.
Apart from these six teams, South Africa and New Zealand have always remained in the race to win the trophy however, the two sides have never been able to seize the title. In order to make cricket a global sport, ICC has given opportunities to many associate nations to showcase their talent at the Cricket World Cup. Afghanistan and Ireland are the most successful teams emerging from that model. But, there have been instances where the minnows upset the heavyweights in the Cricket World Cup.
Here’s a look at the 5 biggest upsets in Cricket World Cup history:
1. Kenya vs Sri Lanka, 2003 World Cup
Starting with the upset that took place in the 2003 World Cup first, Kenya shocked everyone in 2003 by qualifying for the semifinals of the World Cup. Their golden run ended against India but they had recorded victories over several big nations in the earlier rounds. While some teams refrained from playing in Kenya due to the political unrest, Sri Lanka opted to battle the Kenyan team.
This match was played at Nairobi and the islanders were the favourites to win the match because in their previous match, they had shot out Canada for just 36 runs. Kenya pulled off a better show in the first innings as they scored 210/9 in 50 overs with Kennedy Otieno being their top-scorer.
Chasing a modest target of 211 runs, the likes of Sanath Jayasuriya, Aravinda de Silva, Kumar Sangakkara and Marvan Atapattu bowed down to Kenya. Collins Obuya returned with figures of 5/24 as he blew away the Sri Lankan batting unit. Kenya won that match by 53 runs.
2. Bangladesh vs India, 2007 World Cup
On 17th March, 2007 the cricket world witnessed two shocking results as two superpowers of cricket crashed out in the first round of the World Cup. Talking about the first upset match, Bangladesh clashed with India at the Queen’s Park Oval in what was the first match of both the teams. Indian skipper Rahul Dravid won the toss and elected to bat first.
This decision proved to be the worst one of his captaincy career as barring Sourav Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh, none of the Indian batsmen could score more than 15 runs. Mashrafe Mortaza, Abdur Razzak and Mohammad Rafique destroyed the Indian batting lineup as they bowled India out for 191 runs.
In the second innings, Tamim Iqbal provided a breezy start to the Tigers as he scored 51 runs off 53 deliveries. Later, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan scored a fifty each as Habibul Bashar’s Bangladesh recorded the biggest win of their cricket history. Bangladesh won the match by 5 wickets with 9 balls to spare.
3. Ireland vs Pakistan, 2007 World Cup
On the very same day, Ireland locked horns with Pakistan in a Group D match. Pakistan had lost their tournament opener against hosts West Indies but still, they entered the match against Ireland as the favourites to win. Captain Inzamam Ul Haq lost the toss as Ireland invited Pakistan to bat first in Jamaica.
The rainy conditions in Jamaica assisted the Irish pacers as they ran through the Pakistani batting lineup. Kamran Akmal top-scored for Pakistan with 27 runs while Imran Nazir scored 24 runs. Andre Botha bowled a magical spell for Ireland as he gave away only 5 runs in his 8 overs and even scalped two wickets. Boyd Rankin was the pick of the bowlers for Ireland with figures of 3/32.
Chasing a revised target of 128 runs in 47 overs, Niall O’ Brien anchored Ireland’s run-chase. The wicket-keeper batsman scored 72 runs off 107 deliveries while his brother scored a patient 52-ball 16. Captain Trent Johnston finished off things in style with a six as Ireland dumped Pakistan out of the competition.
4. Bangladesh vs South Africa, 2007 World Cup
The 2007 World Cup in West Indies belonged to the upcoming nations as Bangladesh recorded another victory over a major Test-playing nation in the competition. After qualifying for the Super Eights, Bangladesh faced off against the top teams of the other groups. They battled the tournament favourites, South Africa, in the Super-Eight round.
Proteas skipper Graeme Smith had won the toss and elected to field first. Bangladesh started off slow as Andre Nel’s triple burst reduced them to 84/4 in 23.4 overs. Mohammad Ashraful then rescued Habibul Bashar’s side as his 87-run knock helped Bangladesh post a score of 251 runs on the board at the loss of 8 wickets.
The South African batting lineup had big names like AB de Villiers, Graeme Smith, Ashwell Prince, Jacques Kallis and Herschelle Gibbs in their team yet they fell short of the target by 67 runs. Gibbs hit a valiant fifty but Abdur Razzak’s three-wicket haul was enough to guide Bangladesh home.
5. Ireland vs England, 2011 World Cup
After defeating Pakistan and Bangladesh in 2007, Ireland returned to the World Cup in 2011 with an intention of making it to the last eight once again. However, this time, the qualification round was a bit tough as Ireland needed to win at least three of their six games to make it to the final eight. They won two, and both against their European neighbours.
Their first victory came against England at the famous M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. England had earlier tied their match against India at the very same venue hence, they started as the favourites to win the match.
England batted first and the trio of Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell scored a fifty each to guide England to a score of 327/8. What followed that was one of the best innings in World Cup history. Kevin O’ Brien smacked a 63-ball 113 to take Ireland past 300 while John Mooney completed the formalities to take Ireland home in the final over. Ireland won the match by 3 wickets to leave everyone stunned.
Unfortunately, they could not make it to the quarterfinals as they could not defeat any team in the group other than the Netherlands.
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