On a day when St Patrick, one of Ireland’s patron saints, gets celebrated by the Irishmen, Trent Johnson’s men pulled off the unthinkable 12 years ago. Ireland’s team wrote their name in World Cup’s folklore as they showed Pakistan the door of elimination in 2007 ICC World Cup.
17 March 2007 – On the same night, Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room.
Nail-biting finishes, huge upsets, a flood of mixed emotions – Cricket World Cup has witnessed some of the finest moments in the game’s history. It is one of the most viewed sporting events worldwide. For a cricketer, there is no trophy bigger than World Cup’s.
When the cricketing giants top teams bow out from the tournament with defeat at the hands of a minnow, it comes out as a serious blow to the players.
Let us take a look at five of the biggest upsets in World Cup history –
#5 Kenya’s win against West Indies (1996 World Cup)
Minnows Kenya stunned two-time champions West Indies by registering a historic 73 runs victory in 1996 World Cup. This was Kenya’s first ever World Cup. The two teams met for Group A fixture in Pune and the analysts thought that it will be a cakewalk for West Indies.
Maurice Odumbe’s men were facing the likes of Richie Richardson, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Brian Lara, Courtney Ambrose and Courtney Walsh. Kenya were put to bat first and they bundled out for 166.
What followed was a masterclass display of bowling from Kenyan captain Maurice Odumbe. The skipper took a three-fer and was declared as Man of the match. West Indies got all-out for 93 in what is called as one of the biggest World Cup upsets.
#4 Zimbabwe’s win against Australia (1983 Prudential World Cup)
Beating Australia in 1983 World Cup must have felt awfully good as Zimbabwean players. Zimbabwe were playing their first ever World Cup and there weren’t much expectations from them.
Zimbabwe were facing the great Aussie bowling attack which boasted Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thompson and Geoff Lawson. Lillee and Thompson were in the twilight of their careers but you could never dare to underestimate the abilities of two of the greatest pacers of their generation.
Zimbabwean captain Duncan Fletcher led from front and Zimbabwe put on a decent total of 239 for 6 wickets. Fletcher made 84-ball-64 not out after the team was found struggling at 94 for 5. Aussie openers Graeme Wood and Kepler Wessels made a 61 runs first wicket partnership after Duncan Fletcher dismissed Wood.
Zimbabwe’s ‘Captain Fantastic’ Duncan Fletcher went on a rampage and took Aussie middle order on a roll.
Australia finished their innings on 226 as they fell 13 runs short. Zimbabwe wrote their name in World Cup folklore when they clubbed Australia in 1983 Prudential World Cup in their first ever international match.
#3 Ireland’s win against Pakistan (2007 ICC World Cup)
Ireland pulled off one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history when they went on to defeat Pakistan by 3 wickets in 2007 ICC World Cup. The match was played on a green Kingston track assisting the pacers. Ireland elected to field first and their bowlers did not take long to get going. Irish pacer Dave Langford-Smith struck the first wound as he dismissed Mohammad Hafeez in the first over itself.
Pakistan were bundled out for a meagre 132. Pakistan gave a befitting reply when they came on to bowl and dismissed Ireland’s first couple of wickets under 15.
Ireland’s left -handed wicketkeeper batsman Niall O’Brien steadied the ship and made a fighting 72 in difficult conditions. Iftikhar Anjum struck twice in the same over. Ireland still needed 20 runs with 3 wickets left. With no twists left in the tail, Ireland captain Trent Johnson hit the winning runs. He smacked Azhar Mahmood for a six over long-on and Ireland players invaded the ground. They ran as fast they could.
It could not have gotten any better with Ireland knocking Pakistan out of World Cup on St. Patricks Day.
This was a massive humiliation for the Men in Green and things got even worse for Pakistan that night when their coach Bob Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room.
#2 Bangladesh’s win against India (2007 ICC World Cup)
On the day Pakistan got knocked out of 2007 ICC World Cup, Bangladesh made a huge upset as they defeated India by 5 wickets. This was the tournament opener for both teams. Rahul Dravid’s decision of batting first misfired as India got all-out for 191. Mashrafe Mortaza caused Indian batsmen the most trouble as he scalped four wickets for 38.
Half-centuries from Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan handed Bangladesh a convincing victory over India. Mashrafe Mortaza was awarded Man Of The Match award for his amazing spell. This match set the birth of a rivalry between the two cricketing teams.
India were eventually knocked out from the tournament with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh reaching the Round 2 from Group B.
#1 India’s win against West Indies (1983 World Cup Final)
Arguably the biggest upset of them all. 25 June 1983 changed Indian cricket forever in more ways than not. Kapil Dev’s men trumped two-time champions to bag the first World Cup trophy in India’s name. West Indies were well and truly the giants of cricket back then.
West Indies captain Clive Lloyd won the toss in the final and elected to field first. The decision instantly rewarded the two times champions as Sunil Gavaskar fell to Andy Roberts. This was a huge wicket for West Indies. After that, Kris Srikkanth joined hands with Mohinder Amarnath for a well made 57-runs partnership before Srikkanth was caught leg before wicket to Malcolm Marshall.
Kapil Dev’s men were up against the magical quartet of Joel Garner, Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall and Michael Holding. This bowling attack terrorised a whole generation.
Indian wickets kept tumbling and when Kapil Dev departed for 15, their bad dream had come true. Useful cameos from the tail-enders gave India a glimmer of hope as they got all-out for 183.
In reply, Indian bowlers struck right away as Balwinder Singh Sandhu cleaned Gordon Greenidge up. The Indian players started to dream. Madan Lal soon joined the party as he picked the crucial wickets of Sir Vivian Richards and Desmond Haynes. West Indies lost wickets at regular wickets and never quite got hold of the Indian bowling attack.
Mohinder Amarnath hit the final nail in the coffin as he got the final wicket of Michael Holding. Indian captain Kapil Dev lifted the World Cup trophy for the first time. No one could quite believe what Kapil Dev’s men had done to this star-studded West Indies team.