Cricket unlike football is not the game where you see the upsets happening frequently. But when they do, they surely turn out to be worthy of appraisal. There are always talks of one team being stronger than the other on paper. And most of the times, the team which is stronger on the paper eventually turns out victorious. But this notion of one team being exceptionally strong than the other has often deluded our judgment about the results of the game and we always expect the big fish to swallow the smaller one. But make no mistake that there are notable incidents when these so called minnows have fought out against all odds to clinch the victory.
1. India vs. West Indies 1983
Mighty West Indies had clinched the world cup in 1975 and 1979. In 1983 they qualified for the final at the home of cricket at Lords for third successive time. This time the opposition was not as tough as on the previous two occasions. It was West Indie’s game to lose as they were firm favorites because of their prodigious talent. After being asked to bat first, India couldn’t put up a good show with the bat and got bowled out for 183 runs courtesy of devastating bowling by the Andy Roberts and Joel Garner. After that, West Indies were going brilliant in chase until Kapil Dev took a spectacular running catch to dismiss Viv Richards. After that what happened was nothing short of a miracle.
2. England vs. Zimbabwe 1992
1992 was the 1st world cup in the history of the game where white ball and colored kits were used. Another thing different in the summer of 1992 was the event’s format. For the first time, the cup was played in round robin format which meant that every team got a chance to play against every other team. It was in this tournament that Zimbabwe was going to face 8 other teams which were far more talented and competitive at the international stage. But nothing was able to intimidate or threaten the men from Africa when they were up against Garham Gooch’s potent English team. Chasing the total of meager 135 runs, England failed to keep their cool and got cleaned up on 125, giving Zimbabwe something to cheer about.
3. Kenya vs. West Indies 1996
1996 was the year when subcontinent hosted the world cup and 12 teams participated in the cup. Kenya was the one of the lesser known commodities and were expected to go down without a fight but they stunned everyone with the show that they put up against West Indies in the group stage game at Pune. After winning the toss, West Indies put Kenya into bat and made sure that they didn’t run away with the show and dismissed them for thin total of 166. This looked like a walk in the park for West Indies considering they had resounding batting line up comprising of Campbell, Richardson, Brain Lara and Chanderpaul. But Kenyans held on to their nerves and picked up early wickets that jolted the West Indians big time and they could not recover from these early losses and fell apart like house of cards on a total of 93. This meant Kenya sealed the day with 73 runs.
4. Bangladesh vs Pakistan 1999
Pakistan was the strongest and the most ruthless team in the 1999 world cup and after beating strong opponents like Australia and New Zealand in the group stage, it looked as if this juggernaut would be impossible to stop. But we all know about the traditional mercurial nature of Pakistan side. They were to play against Bangladesh in their last group game against Bangladesh at Northampton. This game was the least important one in terms of the consequences but yet it was a world cup game and Bangladesh were trying desperately hard to announce themselves at the centre stage of the world. After winning the toss and opting to field, Pakistan wanted to bowl Bangladesh out on a minor total but Bangladesh managed to have a decent score of 223 on the board, thanks to the brave batting and resilience of Bangladeshi batsmen against the ruthless pace of Wasim, Waqar and Shoaib. In response the unpredictable batting line up of Pakistan crumbled and none of the batsman among Saeed Anwar, Inzamam ul Haq, Ijaz Ahmed and Salim Malik was able to reach the double figure mark. Bangladesh wrapped up the game by dismissing whole Pakistan team for 161. This was the 1st ever win for Bangladesh against Pakistan.
5. Zimbabwe vs India 1999
Another catastrophe that occurred for the bigger cricketing nation was at Leicester in 1999 world cup when Zimbabwe played India in the group stage game. After being put into bat by Muhammad Azharuddin, Zimbabwe batting was impressive and they managed to put 252 runs on the board with Andy Flower scoring 68 runs. In response, Zimbabwe was able to topple the strong Indian batting line up and it felt short of 3 runs. The jubilation was obvious after such a victory.
6. Kenya vs Sri Lanka 2003
2003 world cup had witnessed something which wasn’t ever imagined by anyone in the cricketing fraternity. And this had to do with Kenya reaching the semifinal of ICC cricket world cup in 2003, first associate nation to do that. They took on Sri Lanka at home ground in a group stage match at Nairobi. Kenya was able to cross 200 mark and gave Sri Lanka an itchy target. But Sri Lankan batting, despite of having key members like Jayasuriaya, Attapatu and Aravinda de Silva, Sri Lanka failed to cross the winning line and Kenyans under the leadership of Steve Tikolo created history in front of their own people.
7. Australia vs Bangladesh 2005
In 2005, Bangladesh was having their first summer tour of England. They hadn’t much to cherish until this game against Australia in NatWest Series at Cardiff which was the climax for Bangladeshi cricket in 2005. Australians after setting the target of 249 were well on trot for victory. But the heroics from the bat of Muhammad Ashraful were able to give Bangladesh their long awaited desire of defeating Australia.
8. Pakistan vs Ireland 2007
Pakistan were number 3 in the ICC ODI rankings in 2007 world cup and they were firm favorite to qualify for the super 8 but their pary was spoiled by the team which was playing the world cup for the very first time. It was a green top wicket at Jamaica and Irish captain Trent Johnston made full use of it by putting Pakistan into bat. Pakistanis performed dismally with the bat and could manage only 132. This was a total which was never going to be enough in a pressure match and Ireland won by 3 wickets to knock Pakistan out of the cup.
9. Bangladesh vs India 2007
2007 was an year of disaster for top cricketing nations. After Pakistan’s exit from world cup upon defeat from Ireland, next in line was India who were facing Bangladesh at Port of Spain. After opting to bat first, majestic Indian batting comprising of Shewag, Ganguly, Dravid, Sachin and Dhoni couldn’t put a respectable total on the board. The target o 191 was tricky but not difficult at all considering there were no demons in the pitch. A young Bangladeshi side lead by Habibul Bashar chased down the target in penultimate over with 5 wickets to spare. This victory meant that Bangladesh would play in the super 8 round of the world cup for the very 1st time.
10. England vs Ireland 2011
Ireland had caught every one’s eye when they eliminated Pakistan from the world cup in 2007. Next time in 2011, they came even more determined to show that 2007 glory didn’t happened by chance. This time it was England in the line of fire at Bangalore. On a flat batting wicket, It was England who put a mammoth total of 327 on the board. In chase under lights, Ireland were found wanting at 111 for the loss of 5 wickets. That’s when Irish batsman Kevin Obrien went absolutely ballistic and took the likes of Anderson, Broad and Bresnan to the cleaners. He scored the fastest 100 in the world cup history. Even though he got run out in the end but made sure that he had done enough for the rest of the batsmen to safely cross the winning line.